At the heart of Beijing, the capital city of The People’s Republic of China, lies a sprawling complex known as the Forbidden City. Once home to the Emperor of China, his family, and their servants, the Forbidden City was the political and ritual center of China for over five hundred years, spanning 24 Emperors from the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
I traveled to Beijing in November of 2005 to attend the Beijing Film Academy’s International Student Film and Video Festival. The Beijing Film Academy is the largest film and television school in Asia. My experimental video, I Love You So Much, won an honorable mention in the film festival competition.
The festival organizers at BFA took our group of international visitors to The Great Wall of China at Badaling. This part of The Great Wall has been rebuilt to make it safe for tourists to climb the steep stairs leading from guard tower to tower. Most of the ancient parts of The Great Wall of China are in ramparts now, too dangerous to traverse.
The welcome committee from The Beijing Film Academy were very gracious hosts. I think it’s important to build an artistic and cultural bridge between China and the USA. All too often, Chinese-US relations are depicted as antagonistic in the US mass media. It’s important to foster learning and open a frank, honest dialogue between artists from different backgrounds and different countries.
The linguistic divide between myself and the Chinese students I met was challenging. At times I felt lost in translation. I learned to say one phrase in Mandarin that opened doors for me, the title of my movie, I Love You So Much: Wo zhen ay ni.