8/9/08

Opening Ceremonies--Celebrating the Human Body.




OK. Yes, my heart hurts over Tibet (it has for a long time), and yes, I'm aware that a family member of our Volley Ball coach was murdered by a Chinese man on Saturday (who immediately committed suicide),and of other sundry events taking place as I write, but I'm still in awe over the opening Olympic Ceremonies.
Can we argue that some of the money spent should have gone to other causes? Yes. Of course. Is it strange to see Pres. Bush playing volleyball in Beijing while Russia blows Georgia off the map? Yes (no more words on that issue). But, I feel sorry for any who missed the opening ceremonies (except for EmPo and Bradly, who had a very good excuse). What an amazing event!
Zhang Yimou (director of HERO, HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS, etc.) gets most of the credit. Maybe later, he will regret aligning himself with China's official authoritarian state identity, since he's been at odds with China's leaders most of his life, but he is an incredible Chinese Artist--maybe "he" will be the future China, as he tries to move his homeland out from under Mao's shadow; or, maybe he's selling out his old beliefs for fame and money--but, right now I don't care, because he gave those who saw it an amazing gift of art, theology, harmony, vision, and pure beauty. I heard two newscasters today, who have covered over 25 opening ceremonies between them, say they have never seen anything like it, not only in the Olympics, but also in any art form, ever; nor did they expect to see such an event again in their lifetimes. One said, "There are no words for it."

Today, I got addicted, forgot about politics, watched volleyball, swimming, and cycling--yuk--but I loved it all--even found myself routing for Lithuania's long-haired Samoilovs against US almost-seven-foot giant, who should have won, but didn't. And good for Spain for winning the cyclist race, which was painful to watch because of the tortuous route. The point? The celebration of the physical human body is the center of the Olympic Games. My body hurts all the time now, but I remember how it feels to be healthy (though none of us reaches the training heights of Olympians. Hardly). I love this celebration, no matter where it's held, but, there's no doubt that Zhang Yimou artistic portrayal will be hard to beat--ever. If you missed it, try to pull up some news coverage--but not from YouTube--don't wade through the hate mongers; go to a reputable news source for some re-runs--if you can find one, that is.

2 comments:

iBo said...

I have to agree with here 100%. This really was a huge step for China. For a country that has historically kept to itself to put on a show for the entire world to see is really something. Every time China does something it's like "look at us, see how much better we've become?"

Wasn't it interesting to see the elements of Zhang Yi Mou's style in the whole ceremony? The chanting of the men's chorus during the drums, the graceful flying, and just the artful flowing of the performers movements were just so Zhang Yi Mou that I was speechless. I don't think there was any part of me that wasn't shocked and amazed by every part of that performance.

Funny thing- in the gym today I was the China vs. Canada soccer match, and I didn't know what to do. Who do I root for? My country or my ethnicity? Then, to make the matter more complicated, Olympic fencing (soooooo fun to watch) came on on the TV right next to it. So many choices...

Sky said...

And the swimming--US beats French (whom I love dearly) after they said "We came here to smash the Americans." Such a close race. Phelps is cheering so loudly, he almost loses his swim suit. But, I was most proud when Phelps leaned across to the humiliated French--even before the national anthem--and shook their hands. Then, he pulled the whole relay team over after the ceremony to hug and shake hands--acknowledging the greatness of the French teams' effort. Gracious and kind. He's my current hero, besides the 9-yr-old leader of the procession who was burried in an earthquake, climbed out, then went back to save two more classmates. Why? He said, "because I am a hall monitor."