Thursday, 6 August 2009

Raise the red lantern: let's hear it for Zhang Yimou

Can't usually afford the theatre or the ballet as much as I might wish to go. But afford it or not as soon as the National Ballet of China's performance of Raise the Red Lantern was advertised, out came the credit card and the ticket was booked. Raise the Red Lantern, the movie directed by Zhang Yimou, is a production of exquisite beauty and high drama. The ballet story, needless to say is much abridged, but the central story line of "fourth wife" and what happened to her is retained in all its startling clarity.
I got off my behind and risked penury
to see Raise the Red Lantern
because I love and enjoy the work of Zhang Yimou.
His work is dramatic, exquisitely filmed and staged,
colourful, energetic and wonderful art.

Could I highly recommend The House of Flying Daggers and The Curse of the Golden Flower? After I saw Flying Daggers, I felt I did not need to see another movie...because it had everything. Zhang is now a figure of national stature in China. He did the ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics.

So here I was on the Opening Night of Raise the Red Lantern entering the State Theatre of the Victorian Arts Centre - and there were Chinese red lanterns everywhere. Wonderful!

My biggest suprise came when I went to take my seat after having a lovely bite to eat (reasonably priced) and a drink (not so reasonably priced). I had booked in the stalls and thought I was in about the third row. The ticket said CC 8. But CC, on the night, turned out to be in the very front row! Seat 8 was almost right in the middle of the front row! So what a wonderful view I had.

And when the dancers came to take their bows
and the final in front of the curtain bow,
guess who they were bowinig to?
That's right...ME!


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