Monday, February 06, 2006

Master Headress Maker

On our last day in Beijing, we hit the old town where the Opera Costume shops are located. I’m finally getting into a groove here... At last, some visual theme to build upon. A direction to explore the “character” of this place. The space is jiving & things are starting to jam so much better for me…

The Peking Opera costume area is a filthy but beautiful place.
I spent hours shooting in the old tiny workshop while William got his repairs & orders in. I felt very privilege to be given access to this rich, yet endangered old world craftsmanship locked inside a time capsule in this vanishing historical Hutong.

But I was sadden by the imminent reality that it will be the last time I’ll see this place as it faces extinction with the forth coming progress which has already bulldozed away most of the neighboring shops. These historical Hutongs are eyesores as well as goldmine opportunities to Beijing developers. They are doing everything in their power to get rid of them before the Western world comes for the ’08 Olympics. This neighbourhood will soon be stunted over by yet more of Beijing’s gray, faceless tower blocks.

The old Master Headress Maker whose family has own the shop for generations took us out for a delicious Muslim lunch in the neighbourhood. He & his 2 sons were impress by my tolerance level for Bai Jui, their national drink, the Chinese moonshine that permeates everything everywhere you go in China.

We flew to Xian the following day. I started to get more excited about the film, looking forward to meet Master Sun & start shooting the training rituals. Most of all, I was glad to be leaving Beijing.

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