The Cultural Revolution in China lasted from 1966 to 1976. In that decade, Mao Zedong's wife Jiang Qing commissioned eight model operas. For years, these works were the only entertainment allowed in China; people saw nothing else. In the operas, workers and soldiers glorified Leader Mao and the communist body of thought. Director Yan Ting Yuen visited the leading men and ladies, dancers, actors and composers of yesteryear and talked with them about their enormous fame at the time and their life afterwards. The interviews are alternated with fragments from the eight model works, with contemporary performances, a fictitious conversation with Qing and images of the modern-day Chinese streets. The Yang Ban Xi have not sunk into oblivion. The older generation of Chinese remembers the works out of nostalgia, the younger generation considers the operas droll, old-fashioned amusement.
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