ARTS / FILM
Upcoming musical film tells story of Xinjiang youths’ dreams
Published: Mar 23, 2021 07:13 PM
Promotional material for <em>The Wings of Songs</em> Photos: Courtesy of Zhao Zhao

Promotional material for The Wings of Songs Photo: Courtesy of Zhao Zhao

Promotional material for <em>The Wings of Songs</em> Photos: Courtesy of Zhao Zhao

Promotional material for The Wings of Songs Photo: Courtesy of Zhao Zhao

Chinese musical The Wings of Songs will hit big screens across China on Sunday, bringing the music traditions and legacies of Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to moviegoers through a story about young people chasing their music dreams. 

Musical films are a rarity in the Chinese mainland, now the world's largest movie market, due to the high cost of production and low return on investment. However, overseas hit like La La Land from Hollywood and Indian blockbuster Baahubali: The Beginning have inspired Chinese studios like the Tianshan Film Studio to seek their own breakthrough at home. 

Local ethnic culture from dance to music will be a key focus of the film, said Wings director Abdukerim Abliz. 

Featuring the life of people living in Xinjiang, the story unfolds as three young people travel across the region seeking musical inspiration. 

As a crossroads for the East and West, Xinjiang has a long history of cultural exchanges and local people have formed their own unique traditional dances and songs for various celebrations such as festivals and weddings. 

According to the director, the film crew toured to Xinjiang cities such as Yili, Tacheng and Kashi to shoot local scenes like snow-covered mountains, deserts and lakes. Additionally, besides local dances, the film also features international dances such as street dance and the dances of Latin America. 

The most important part of the film, the music, was overseen by songwriter Dong Yingda, who created eight pieces of music as well as four group dance scenes to present the colorful folk and dance traditions in Xinjiang. 

Dong said that she hoped to accentuate the charm of the story through the accompaniment of emotional music featuring the strong ethnic characteristics of Xinjiang and that she visited local art troupes and folk musicians for inspiration. 

"Before shooting started, we visited the southern and northern parts of Xinjiang to find a proper place to set the story," she said. 

According to the director, "different from Bollywood movies, in which music rarely takes part in narrating the story," the music in Wings merges the lines and dialogues of characters into its songs. 


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