Last fall, Sichuan Province, to accompany our new and improved Chengdu so special in mind, body and spirit. Sichuan is a place so rich in culture that you can taste it around the world, and making these films was much like planning a trip to China: so much to see, and never enough time. But we believe we've created a meaningful, interesting portrait of the city, so if you haven't seen them yet, watch the videos on the Ctrip English YouTube channel (Body, Spirit, Mind) or Youku (Body, Spirit, Mind). In the meantime, read on to get some behind-the-scenes information on the production from Sascha Matuszak.Body was for us the expression of action, movement and enjoyment. For this film we enlisted the help of a team of local b-boys, visited one of Chengdu’s most popular eating streets and spent a few days in public parks filming Tai Qi practitioners and other dancers. Read on to hear more about filming in Chengdu...
The Nightly Wuhou Temple performance includes fire-breathing, so we used this in tandem with a burning wok to show the fiery nature of the region that people speak of when they mention the food and the spirit of the Chengdunese people. A thumping beat provides a great counterpoint to the pounding of a machine making chili powder that we found in Luodai, and early on the cymbals and drums of the music match perfectly with the bouncing balls of San Da Pao, a local dessert made with rice flour and brown sugar. We went to Jinli Street, right next to Wuhou Temple, to film noodles, San Da Pao and people digging in to local snacks.
The b-boys danced in front of Chunxi Road’s glittering luxury shops, in the doorway of a Jinli bodega, in the recently completed subway line and in front of the Mao statue on Tianfu Square in the city center. The national b-boy champ leads the group–he’s the one that silently spins for several seconds on one hand and he is also the dancer who windmills for the camera later on. Keep your eyes on the poppers, especially the young handsome one–their hands often precede the movements of their bodies and for someone to do this properly, they have to be in a sort of trance.
The Tai Qi dancers and practitioners are not experts, and that is visible in some of their kicks and punches, but they are ubiquitous in the city’s public parks. We could have filmed martial arts masters, but for this short we thought that a representation of the people would be a better fit. Notice the old man peeking out from the back in one of the shots–priceless and funny.
This film is the energy driven one–everything about this one screams fire, heat, movement and power. A good description of what Chengdu is all about, when not drinking tea and soaking up the leisurely vibes of this notoriously laid-back Chinese city.