To Live to Sing

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To Live to Sing


by Johnny Ma




Director: Johnny Ma

Script: Johnny Ma

Cinematographer: Matthias Delvaux

Editing: Ana Godoy

Sound: Sheng Yong

Music: You Jongho, Kim Jimin

Cast: Zhao Xiaoli, Gan Guidan, Yan Xihu, Yan Huanghe, Deng Xiurong, Liu Min, Li Tangrong

Production: House on Fire, Image X Productions

Year: 2019

Screening: 2020

DCP, Color, 105 min, 
OV Mandarin with French Subtitles

Zhao Li is the director of a traditional opera company from Sichuan who live and act together in the outskirts of Chengdu. When she gets a demolition order for her theatre, Zhao Li hides it from the other members of the company and decides to fight for a new place where they can all continue to live and sing. They then engage in a struggle for the survival of their art. They are obliged to adapt to public taste and to become more modern but that does not mar the pleasure they get from creativity. They cling to to their identity, their moral values and their families. Will they be able to go on in this way? It remains to be seen. Their future is not very bright. But even when all that has gone, the magic of what they have created together will remain.

What I found interesting in making this film was not only talking about my art but also my childhood. My grandmother was a great lover of opera. I’ve always considered opera singers as gods. Faced with the sudden mutation of our society, artists try to conserve the freedom to perpetuate the creativity of their art.” Johnny Ma.

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