The Chinese filmmaker talks about his love of Peking opera and why he has directed
Chen Kaige’s Farewell My Concubinewas the first Chinese-language film to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and follows the journey of two Peking opera stars through the Cultural Revolution. In 2008 he directed a new production of Turandotconducted by Zubin Mehta. Chen’s new film, The Sacrifice, is based on a Chinese opera and opens at the Sydney Film Festival tonight.
Tell us about the story of your new film The Sacrifice, which is based on a centuries-old Peking opera tale.
It is a classical story existing in the history of China for 2,000 years, and it has been used in opera and many other adaptations. I didn’t see the opera being performed on the stage, but I understood that there are different versions of the story of the Zhao Orphan story, and people can see those things. There’s a very famous Peking Opera based on the same story.
How does your version of the tale unfold; what’s different about your interpretation?
If you want to make this kind of story, then you have to make decisions. First, in terms of how...