On the surface, the story follows the resilience of a young man trying to keep Chinese opera alive. The latter is considered one of the oldest theatrical art forms in the world. Most Westerners, however, are exposed to it only as a sign of Chinese New Year celebrations.
But talking about work in this way reduces what you actually get done: If you have 20 minutes of your attention, the movie will reward your efforts. Your heart may be touched and your outlook on life may change.
As observed by AdAge, “Through the Five Passes” references classical Chinese opera whose origins can be traced to the 14th century. The main character, Goo, who will be starring for the first time in 20 years, will be reprinted in the New Year’s theater company. He’s worked for this his whole life, and many of his films relate to those years.
“Even if you’ve never been through life’s trials, that’s reflected in this role,” his mentor says at one point. Indeed, in Proustian flashbacks, Gu’s challenges abound: his strict, authoritarian theater troupe training, the death of his father, when he ruined a colleague’s performance at a time when he was dying. his friend’s derisive comment about his commitment to the art of
We recognize that Chinese opera goes beyond the concept of “folk art”. Rather, such ancient practices can explain where you are going—where we are all going. and beats even deep conversations with friends and family in this regard.
It’s a matter of life and death, and we’re talking about the many ways to die en route to a great afterlife.
At one point, the production manager jumped in and told the troupe that the stage time had been reduced from an hour to five minutes to make room for pop performances. It’s a stressful, humiliating situation. Resign on stage left for everyone to decline. Is it worth doing? How do you shorten an epic of elaborate proportions to five minutes?
But Gu isn’t that kind of guy. More in his head than in his moments in the spotlight, he has taken all the combined love and pain his training has given him to embody a legacy spanning the centuries. I have.
Quite the zazen equivalent of the Rocky sequence, Goo slips into a prepared state of mind. This stillness brings a similar stillness within us.
“My body and mind are one. Free my mind and my skills will follow,” said Gu Muse, who is ready to meet onstage for five minutes as the show’s only performer, fully dressed in makeup. When he begins acting with sharp pomp, it’s a moment sharply accentuated by an iron ham. He looks around: nobody cares. Audiences chat, check their phones, and pay little attention.
Then suddenly the atmosphere changes and new possibilities emerge. Rhythmic percussion begins, led by a newly galvanized master. Almost every culture has a version of this drum beat. This is the nagging meat-to-meat slamming that rolls your eyes to stir up the blood. The audience can’t look away, and the actors from the other theater companies once again gear up and take the stage.
The rest of the performance flows like a dream sequence. Peng Fei is a wise director and knows how to play such a scene. Gu is a vessel of spirits that has been emptied and descended to honor the proper kind of invocation. But, of course, it’s also still about Gu. One cannot exist without the other. That’s part of what makes Gnosis unique and somehow still universal to those who come across it.
Towards the end of the performance, Gu is confronted by a man sitting in a chair, perhaps his father, and says, “Those who say goodbye are honorable, and so are those who see them off. Move, the river flows forever, Let’s meet again, may my journey begin.”
Ultimately, Gu’s father is flanked by a red lantern that leads to a star. This is catharsis, the end of one emotional journey and the beginning of another. This has always been the stuff of opera…but now Gu has a life experience related to it and has proven himself worthy by meeting that epiphany. please.
The film ends with a dedication “to those facing their path.” Like drums, whether in the underworld, in dark forests, or in caves, initiation passages are symbols that echo in most cultures. It’s that story again: we live and die thousands of times in these lives and beyond. It unites us. Where has that consciousness gone? Even if it’s just for a few minutes between other performances, isn’t that worth acknowledging?
Shot by Luo Dong and scored by Valka Buehler, the film ends with a shot of each member of the opera house. Their names and ages are displayed, as well as the number of years they have devoted themselves to art. And of course, it approaches the classic “Shot on iPhone 14 Pro”.
It’s not our favorite moment, but it’s in Apple tradition, so we’ll get through it.