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Yang Ban Xi

2.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Yang Ban Xi was a series of propaganda productions (movie musicals, ballets, operas) made during China's Cultural Revolution and overseen by Madame Mao. These gorgeous Technicolor extravaganzas of rifle-toting, dancing proletariat "once the bane of serious artists who reviled the form as despicable, propagandistic trash which threatened their livelihood" have been embraced, celebrated, and re-enacted by today's Chinese youth as "kultural kitsch.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Directors: Yan Ting Yuen
  • Writers: Yan Ting Yuen
  • Producers: Barbie Tung, Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmrich, Ilse Ronteltap, Meike Zandvoort van
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Chinese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Homevision
  • DVD Release Date: April 10, 2007
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MRA538
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #204,205 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Yang Ban Xi" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Randy Buck VINE VOICE on October 29, 2007
Format: DVD
That ultimate failed actress, Madame Mao, got revenge on more successful artists when she came to power: she decreed that only Yang Ban Xi, an uber-nationalist form of opera, could be performed. The glimpses from filmed versions of these operas included here are fascinating, if all too brief; talented performers selling incredibly banal patriotic drivel (while the melodies are frequently lovely, the lyrics have to be heard to be disbelieved). The film also includes contemporary interviews with the artists whose lives and careers were both made and wrecked by their association with these operas. Once the trials of the Gang of Four began, the writers, directors and performers who'd created these works were suddenly persona non grata, and their stories are frequently heartbreaking. They've lived long enough, however, to be embraced by a new generation of fans, and sequences with people who've loved these movies since childhood (sometimes finding their first erotic stirrings aroused by on-screen images that look beyond prim today), as well as with artists whose work responds to this material, make for very interesting viewing. Perhaps, as students of the form have written, this film's only a superficial overview of a more complex subject, but for the vast majority of Western audiences who are unfamiliar with the form, it makes for enthralling, stimulating viewing. Recommended.
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Watched this in 2007 when it came out and ordered it this year (2013) to revisit it. There is great footage of the 8 Model Works and some great interviews with the stars of these musicals (who are a lot older now). This kind of historical material is what makes the documentary inherently valuable. If you're into the 8 Model Works nothing can beat the "where are they now?" interviews with the writers, directors, and actors in their own homes and neighborhoods!

However compared to when I saw this in 07 it seems dated. It's a little slow sometimes and has some odd aspects like a Madame Mao voiceover narrator, obviously read by an actress not Madame Mao; and a weird hip hop scene. All in all it's a good movie but sometimes a little slow and dated.
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This is not an objective, educational documentary, but one that judges and provides a lot of misleading and simply wrong information. A fictional voice-over by Jiang Qing, Mao's voice, puts words into her mouth that are so ridiculously silly that I wonder if the makers really knew what they were doing. This movie does very little (if anything) to place Yangbanxi into the complex context of socialist realism and art in Socialist totalitarian regimes. Not to be recommended to use in classrooms! Better to show a real Yangbamxi and let it speak for itself.
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By Jackal on November 29, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I wanted to watch some of those propaganda movies from the Cultural Revolution era. That is a very sad chapter in Chinese history, but I wanted to see the propaganda unedited. This DVD is a documentary and contains snippets only. Actually quite useless.
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It is creative and full of imagination, but lacks historical and political depth. Without narration abd related information, how can later generations understand the meaning and background of Yang Ban Xi?
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