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[VFF ’16] Celebrating The Grand Song World Premiere & a Movie Review

9 Feb

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)


Haoran Xiao (middle) and Chouchou Ou (right) at VFF’16 World Premiere

On Monday, Feb 8th, the 2016 Victoria Film Festival saw the world premiere of The Grand Song. This film was made in Southwestern China and it highlights the ethnic musical traditions of the Dong, a group of people who live in the Guizhou, Hunan and Guangxi provinces. On a day which also marked BC Family Day and Chinese New Year, two traditions blended into one harmonious moment to witness live music from a very gifted pianist Ricky Chiu. As audiences are entering the theatre, he’s playing Chopin, and he is later accompanied by his instructor, Shoko Inoue in a duet.

Before the screening, the director of this film Chouchou Ou announced that she is donating $1,000 to the British Columbia based Rainbow Kids Foundation which aids underprivileged children, and Rain Li, in behalf of her company Shanghai Rain Holdings Incorporated, added $10,000. After much applause and thank you to many benefactors for helping to bring this film to this festival, a short Q&A examined a few details of the movie and Ou sang “Miss You” to audiences. The young Chiu closed off the afternoon with his rendition of “Over the Rainbow.”

In a visually gorgeous movie as this product, The Grand Song will most certainly delight audiences curious about the unique cultures located within China. The Dong are said to have been descended from the ancient Guyue people, and as for how the blood lines relate, that’s best explored by anthropologists.

Linguistically, just how each sub-ethnic community communicates also evolved. Not every culture passes on their knowledge written down. In this film, the story lies in the music, and much of the deeper meaning is buried in the ballads heard. But this movie is more about the love between two, if not three souls, destined to never be together if their stubbornness does not change. The musical group The Supremes and composers Charles Hart and Don Black certainly nailed the idea of how you can’t hurry love or how love changes everything well before Ou crafted this film. Nafu (Haoran Xiao) is a well-educated man who decides to come home to see his family. In a less than spectacular fashion, he meets Alain (Jia Wang), a local woman, and he instantly declares his love for her. No matter how hard he tries, she rejects his courtship and declares her affection is for another young man, Qianshu (Li An Wei).

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