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The Sons of Yili River


02-17-2017 10:55 BJT

By CCTV.com Panview editor team     

Editor’s foreword: "Looking China" International Youth Film Project is co-organized by the Academy for International Communication of Chinese Culture (AICCC), Beijing Normal University and Huilin Foundation, which aims to showcase the contrasting simplicity and glamour, the antiquity and fashion of China through unique perspectives of young foreign film makers.

As of the year 2016, 101 students from 25 countries were invited to participate in the project. They were stationed in 13 municipality, provinces and autonomous regions here in China. Every filmmaker has worked out a 10-minute short film about Chinese culture around the topic of “ethnic minority”.

The film, The Sons of Yili River, directed by Lucas Silva Campos, features a man, whose family heritage is Russian, but he was born near the Yili River in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

He certainly does not look “Chinese” and his wife has Russian blood too. They both have sandy blonde hair, blue eyes with Caucasian features. The Russian man of Yili River has an old European-style hobby, playing the accordion.

He’s an avid collector of the instrument, with over 800 accordions and altogether 1,000+ instruments in his repair shop. He fixes them and hopes to resell them, but he lives in an isolated and tiny village, so he’s got only a few customers.

His best friend is a Han Chinese native of Yili River, also a middle-aged man, who accompanies the Russian accordion player for family and village festivals.

The accordion, once a popular instrument in China when it shared a close relationship with the former Soviet Union, is not so well known nowadays. And it’s not easy to play. The instrument is heavy, clunky and difficult to master. This would explain why reviving the accordion’s popularity would be unlikely to succeed.

Nevertheless, as a Russian minority of Yili River, he is proud of his family heritage, happy to live in his hometown and stays joyful since he can play the accordion whenever he wishes.


(The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com)


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