Things have been awfully quiet here on Queerious, partly because our editor-in-chief Quentin is too busy directing a great project. If you haven’t heard about it yet, you should.
As an independent filmmaker myself, I of course aspire to be as accomplished a director as Quentin is one day. I am actually working on a (much smaller) project of my own, a short film with a lesbian love story and a Chinese Opera theme.
There will never be enough space on this blog to discuss the arts and (over 200 years) history of Chinese Opera. The Illuminated Lantern has done a great job at providing a short history.
My history with Chinese Opera began as child when I attended a lot of performances with my aunt in Hong Kong. My aunt has always been a Chinese Opera enthusiast and still performs opera plays as a hobby today. Like most children, I dismissed the ancient art as monotonous plays and ghastly noise. It was not until years later when I attended a performance put on by my aunt and her amateur Cantonese Opera group did I begin to appreciate the aesthetics and subtleties of Chinese Opera, and the discipline it requires. Subtleties, the ability to illicit the grandest emotions and convey the deepest message by the smallest gestures or images, have always been what I strive for in my films. Combining the medium of film and the ancient art of Chinese Opera seems to me is a perfect union.
When one talks about Chinese Opera in cinema, the more celebrated films like Chen Kaige’s Farewell, My Concubine and his recent Forever Enthralled, or even the more commercial, lighthearted Peking Opera Blues by Hong Kong director Tsui Hark will come to mind.
But one of the greatest inspirations on this project for me is the under-appreciated (at least at the time of its release) and obscure 1987 film Woman Demon Human by director Huang Shuqin, one of the very few prominent female filmmakers in mainland China. Continue reading