- Post-screening dialogue with film director Lu Min -
In the process of cultural development, the Baishou Dance, once regarded as a “living fossil” by anthropologists, suffers from “weathering”. Seeing the adapted Baishou Dance being popularized in Shemihu village, Peng Changsong, the senior-generation practitioner of the Baishou Dance, dismisses it as nothing but “buying a casket while discarding the pearl inside”. The documentary of The Ancestral Temple, strung together by stories concerning the preservation and development of the Baishou Dance as reflected in the life situation and conflicts between the old and young generations of Baishou dance practitioners, vividly depicts a genuine and timely portrait of the current conditions of rural society and the changing mentality of villagers.
For most of the villagers, the Shemihu Ancestral Temple which no longer serves as a refuge for their spiritual longings, feels so close at hand yet so far away.
Dr. Min Lu is currently an associate professor in South-Central University for Nationalities in China. In 1999-2012, she worked in Hubei Television Network as a reporter, producer, and a director of documentary, with eight national/international documentary prizes awarded. She is interested in visual anthropology and cross-cultural communication. She is now a visiting scholar in UCLA Center for Chinese Studies.
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