Zhang Yimou makes first public appearance following PyeongChang Winter Olympics at launch ceremony for Apologue 2047's national tour

SHANGHAI, March 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- On March 4, the signing ceremony for the strategic cooperation between SAIC General Motors and celebrated movie director Zhang Yimou and the opening ceremony for the second season of Apologue 2047, a stage performance sponsored by Buick, were both successfully held at the Shanghai Grand Theater. Mr. Zhang made an appearance at the ceremony where he talked about the performance taking place the same evening. This is the movie director's first public appearance in China following the debut performance of his latest work, "Eight Minutes in Beijing", at the closing ceremony for PyeongChang Winter Olympics. The finely attired Mr. Zhang said with apparent frankness that the second season will deliver an entirely different experience to the audience.

Zhang Yimou, together with the creative staff, attend the launch event of their new show
Zhang Yimou, together with the creative staff, attend the launch event of their new show

Zhang explained that "Eight Minutes in Beijing" is very much in keeping with the spirit of Apologue 2047

The performance of "Eight Minutes in Beijing" at the recent closing ceremony for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics once again attracted wide attention from audiences around the world. Dispensing with traditional Chinese elements such as red lanterns, the pipa, human wave strategies and snippets of Peking Opera as the familiar background music, the show deployed a high-tech approach to illustrate the hospitality of the Chinese people. An array of AI-controlled robot-screens worked in tandem with the actors, stunning the world with the beautiful images of the new China.

At the press conference, Zhang revealed that the original idea for "Eight Minutes in Beijing" was a performance by 24 roller skaters, with the many technological elements "icing on the cake". When commenting on the high-tech trends that have captured the imagination of the general public, Zhang said that one cannot forget that it is man who has brought us the science and technology that is so much a part of the present and future. It took the rigor and perseverance of human workers to bring us the miraculous benefits of AI.

Speaking of his new concept performance Apologue 2047, Zhang said that although there are differences between the performance and "Eight Minutes in Beijing", the two works are essentially the same. After nearly three years of perfecting, the concept created by 20 teams and individuals from seven countries has resulted in what could be termed as a "passionate collision" between Chinese national folk art and the multinational scientific and technological teams, demonstrating the most attractive side of Chinese traditional culture in a fully modern and up-to-date way.

The completion of the work for the second season of Apologue 2047 is on schedule with Mr. Zhang adding with self-deprecating humor, that he is not putting on the show to create a brand for himself

As soon as the national tour of Apologue 2047 closed, preparations for the second season were launched with the aim of integrating even more authentic traditional art with even more advanced technologies. Mr. Zhang confirmed that the second season is now well on track to be delivered on time and plans to follow the structure of the first season, yet with different content. During the launch event, SAIC General Motors general manager Wang Yongqing signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the movie director. The signing ceremony itself was also a demonstration of advanced technologies.

When commenting on the partnership with Buick, Mr. Zhang said matter-of-factly, "At first, I rejected the cooperation." However, he was touched by the brand's apparent innovativeness as well as the level of trust the brand had built with the director. As a result, audiences have an opportunity to experience Mr. Zhang's dispassionate concept performance that he was able to create without having to be in the least bit concerned with the profit motive. Mr. Zhang said in a self-mocking way that "I don't think in terms of my reputation" when creating a work and that he insists on original ideas rather than trying to create a "brand". The movie director hopes to enable the showcasing of China that is self-confident not only when it comes to culture, literature and art but also when it comes to technology.

Bao Ye, marketing director for Buick at SAIC General Motors, added that each element of the performance showcased the life of convenience that has been made possible by the industrial revolution. Mr. Zhang's constant pursuit of art corresponds to Buick's brand philosophy of constantly making ever greater progress. The cooperation with Mr. Zhang that resulted in the top-level concept performance aims to convey Buick's ideas about commitment to the sustainable, smart, user-centric and environmentally friendly mobility experience of the future, as well as encourage people to look forward to what technology has in store for mobility and the ability for every individual on the planet to lead a richer life.

Apologue 2047 receives a passionate and positive response during CCTV's Lantern Festival Gala

Since its debut in June 2017, the extraordinary concept theater show Apologue 2047 has been well received at home and abroad. Tickets to the three shows at the National Center for the Performing Arts sold out quickly. In addition to the attention that the show received from both industry insiders and the general public, Apologue 2047 was reviewed by CNBC, the Associated Press and Reuters, in addition to other leading international media outlets. Additionally, Apologue 2047 was performed at Edinburgh International Festival 2017, setting off a craze around the world for all Chinese things when it comes to fashion.

During the Lantern Festival Gala on CCTV, the main channel of China's state-owned nationwide TV broadcaster, audiences were deeply impressed by the creative program Ordination performed by Jirong Qiu. The show is a part of Apologue 2047. From theatres to the stage of the Lantern Festival Gala, the show, which is quite representative of the technology-driven inspiration that feeds the creative process behind the programs, revealed a new and different concept to viewers of the gala.

Apologue 2047 kicks off a national tour with the first show in Shanghai a sell-out

The debut performance of the Apologue 2047 national tour took place in Shanghai, where the event, an instant sell-out, was widely applauded by the audience. Seats sold out well in advance of the event. From the moment the curtain was raised, a blend of traditional arts and advanced technologies took over the stage, including the Mongolian Long Song juxtaposed with the style of the "cloud" veil, the laser lightshow in tandem with a modern dance performance, holographic projection of the wanwanqiang (the Bowl Tune) tradition of Shaanxi province, as well as the robotic arm in contrast with a manually manipulated marionette show, all of which combined to produce an astonishing audio and visual experience. Many of the evening's theatergoers had chosen to come and see the show, as they had previously seen "Eight Minutes in Beijing". Several audience members said they felt they had experienced an epiphany during the event, an emotional reaction that the director said he had been hoping to evoke.

Following the debut event in Shanghai, Apologue 2047 will be performed in other cities, including Hangzhou and Guangzhou. Mr. Zhang, who feels that he has a special karmic relationship with Hangzhou, reminded the city's denizens, "If you watched "Impressions of the West Lake" and the art show that took place during G20, then you should not hesitate to see Apologue 2047, which, despite the obvious vast differences, one can still discern the relationship with the two earlier shows". Apologue 2047 is certain to move and shock local audiences in new and different ways.

Ji Menglin

Loom and Fairy is visually and acoustically stunning
Loom and Fairy is visually and acoustically stunning

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