(aka 'Yang Ban Xi, de 8 modelwerken')

Directed by Yan Ting Yuen
Netherlands 2005


  Long before Nixon and Peter Sellars, and long before 'Made in China' branded the world, the Chinese government produced state propaganda of the campiest kind. In the documentary "Yang Ban Xi: The 8 Model Works," the director Yan-Ting Yuen revisits the country's recent past to explore the history and legacy of one of the strangest byproducts of totalitarian madness: the revolutionary spectacular. With the onset of the Cultural Revolution in 1966, the government allowed only about a dozen revolutionary operas, or Yang Ban Xi, to be performed on stage and on screen; the most popular became known as the eight model works. Although filled with dancers lustily singing Mao's praise, these productions look eerily familiar, maybe because, as one performer remembers, it was "as if I were working in a fairy tale like a Hollywood musical."

 Excerpt from the New York Times located HERE


Theatrical Release: January 5th, 2005 - Sundance Film Festival

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DVD Review: HomeVision - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution HomeVision - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:25:03 
Video 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.53 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio mostly Mandarin (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English

Release Information:
Studio: HomeVision

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• trailers (many)

DVD Release Date: April 10th, 2007

Keep Case
Chapters: 20




This is an incredibly interesting film.... certainly the apex of cultural fascination.  The archival footage used appears to be from a 2nd or 3rd generation video source. The transfer is 16 X 9 enhanced but is interlaced. Obviously this is not so much about image quality as the film itself and it is a real eye-opener being such recent history. The subtitles appear to be non-removable and they are quite large and intrusive. Audio is clear and consistent.

The only related supplement on this DVD is the PDF of the Press Kit - the rest are a huge collection of trailers. Personally the Yang Ban Xi archived performances are the real appeal - extensive kitsch ala Hot Summer (which I strongly recommend).  The DVD weaknesses don't take away much and this is a story worth listening to. Recommended if you are at all keen on this topic! 

Gary W. Tooze



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