Filming in Chengdu: the spirit

Culture, Travel | by China Travel
Posted: February 15th, 2012 | Updated: February 15th, 2012 | Comments
Chengdu film 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. Spirit for us embodied the foundation of Chengdu culture and society, and so a lot of what we wanted to show deals with water, with lush green vistas, with the Buddhist and Taoist influences that still have people praying today and with the pure, unscripted faces and movements of the people themselves. Hear more from Sascha after the jump... We spent a couple days in Dujiangyan and Qing Cheng Mountain filming the source of Chengdu’s civilizations: the Dujiangyan Dam and the re-direction of the Min River. The dam was built 2000 years ago, and without it there would be no Chengdu. The Taoist Qing Cheng Mountain may (or may not) be the source of Taoism, but that doesn’t really matter to the people of Sichuan and Chengdu. Many of the visitors to this site are tourists, plain and simple, but the beauty and peace of the mountain always leaves a trace of itself on anyone who climbs to the top. We followed a young monk as he searched for acorns atop the mountain. It was a pleasure to watch him leave the path and go digging amongst the roots of other trees – for us it was a symbol of what this whole project was meant to be: an exhortation to leave the path in search of … Filming in Sichuan The Wenjiang Green Belt was a great place to film the natural environment that emerged out of the Min River’s re-direction two millenia ago. The water here is remarkably clean for being so close to one of China’s largest cities. The people here live simple, easy lives. Smoking pipes by the river, fishing in the morning and chilling in hammocks as the afternoon sun sets to the west. The panda shots in this short were a joy to film. We managed to get behind the scenes to film baby pandas sleeping together in a pen and a mother as she nursed a small newborn. We flipped shots of the pandas with shots of small children playing in Wuhou Temple is one of the most beautiful little spots in the entire city. It curves away just right under a canopy of bamboo and sunlight. We were lucky to be filming as hundreds of schoolchildren were visiting the memorial to Chengdu’s greatest heroes – a small request had them all running wild down the corridor for a fun shot. We hoped to show the humanity of the city and the people to try and dispel the strangeness that China might inspire in people who have never been here before. The shot of the Leshan Buddha from a small beach was a coup that we did not expect when we went to Leshan for a day. The rocky strip sinks below the river every day around 11am, so we only had a few minutes to film from this location before the water swallowed up the stones. The last few shots of marching university students were filmed near Longquan, a small township southeast of the city famous for peaches and flowers. The university is also the site of one of Chengdu’s busiest cooking schools, shots of which appear later in the Body installment. Art in China
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