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Peking Opera Blues 刀马旦 ~ Chinese Movies&TV

Today let’s take a brief introduction of a famous Chinese movie named “Peking Opera Blues”.“Daomadan” is one of the “Dan” roles in Peking opera, and “dan” refers to the female characters of different ages and identities. Daomadan plays the female warrior role that is highly skilled in military drill, usually riding a horse with a sword held in hand. They are mostly marshals or generals; hence often present an imposing manner, such as Mu Guiying, Fan Lihua, etc. In terms of stage performance, Daomadan attaches equal importance to chang (singing), nian (dialogue), and zuo (acting). She is also required to have combat skill, but the combat scene is far less fierce than that of “Wudan”, and stress is laid on figure posture, highlighting the mighty and dignified temperament of the role. Compared with other terminological names of Peking opera roles, Daomadan has got widespread fame for the namesake movie directed by Hark Tsui in 1986 (the film is entitled ‘刀马旦’ in Chinese, which writes ‘Daomadan’ in pinyin, but the English title is ‘Peking Opera Blues’).

Peking Opera Blues (or Daomadan in Chinese) was one of the most influential Hong Kong movies of that age. It was acclaimed by the film critics as “a remarkable work of Hark Tsui which brilliantly combines art with entertainment,” and even the director Hark Tsui himself deemed it his representative work in the 1980s.

Set in the early Republic of China when the country was in a state of political turbulence and people lived on the edge of starvation, the film tells a story of a Peking opera troupe embroiled in a political conspiracy, and three female protagonists managed to reveal to the public the evidence of a warlord betraying the country. The three acknowledged beauties, Brigitte Lin, Cherie Chung, Sally Yeh, are the protagonists of the movie. They are no longer eye candies, nor the foils to the heroes, nor little helpless weeping women, or princesses waiting for the rescue of the prince, they have their own independent personality, their own dreams, and also have the guts to pursue their dreams. Even though they come from different social status and have different cultural backgrounds, their common ground cannot be denied. Director Hark Tsui not only displays in the movie the dazzling martial arts skills, but also endows it with nostalgic patriotic sentiment. Through the eyes of three women from completely different social status, classes and cultural backgrounds, the film reflects the key point of the concept of Greater China, and depicts the historical vicissitude with humanistic emotion.


京剧Jīngjù: form of traditional Chinese theatre which combines music, vocal performance, mime, dance, and acrobatics.
穆桂英Mù Guìyīng:a legendary heroine from ancient China’s Northern Song Dynasty and a prominent figure in the Generals of the Yang Family legends.
徐克Xú Kè: a Vietnamese-Hong Kong based New Wave film director, producer and screenwriter.

未经允许不得转载:STUDY IN CHINA GLOBAL (SCG) » Peking Opera Blues 刀马旦 ~ Chinese Movies&TV
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