Tuesday, June 30 2020
Casting my gimlet eye through Hulu’s Asian offerings, I stumbled across “Ruyi”, a one-season series with 87 episodes. I’m interested in Asian filmwork, particularly from China. Unfortunately, many Chinese (and other Asian) offerings are too light, silly, generally uninteresting, but the best simply are unbeatable.
My love for Chinese film started in 1993 with the historical drama, “Farewell My Concubine,” a two-and-one-half hour movie. It’s visually lovely with a riveting story revolving around two performers in the Beijing Opera and a woman who comes between them. It’s segments include bits of classical Chinese opera, strains alien to Western ears. The combination of lush beauty, fine story, and excellent performances made it easy to absorb that music at a deep level.
In comparison, the series “Ruyi” is lightweight in storytelling terms. Its action occurs in the 1730s and deals with widespread manipulation and conspiracy within a young, inexperienced Emperor’s domain. A couple of superb elements hold me to the series. My eyes cannot move from the film’s astonishing beauty and color in period settings and traditional apparel. Another glorious feature is a soundtrack combining Western style and Asian musical components, it’s beautiful and captivating.
While observing that film’s 1730s Chinese society, my thoughts move ahead to 1775’s bloody battles between America’s newly-arrived Puritans and its Native Indians. “Ruyi’s” well-honed Chinese social order is a stark contrast to the recently-arrived Puritan religiosity against already-established social orders. Our commonly-understood world history teaches that initial conflicts eventually bring social restructurings. Today’s technology has us experiencing and observing firsthand that societal conflicts just continue, hopefully to evolve as improved restructurings.
If you love sounds, colors, and beauty overall, check out “Ruyi”, it’s streaming on Hulu.
Dear Readers: In styles of human thinking and comportment, changes are slow. Diana