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Looking China: Keeping dreams alive in wood-cut carvings


11-01-2017 11:54 BJT

Full coverage: ‘看中国’外国青年影像计划专题

By CCTV.com Panview

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. The program focuses on the young participants’ personal experiences of Chinese culture and encourages them to discover and tell Chinese stories from their own perspectives.

As of the year 2017, students from all over the world were invited to participate in the project. They were stationed in 12 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 "Craftsmanship·Inheritance·Innovation.”

The short film, "One Man, One Image," directed by Na Yeon Lee, while translated into English and narrated by Zhang Yan, follows the daily life of a wood craftsman, named Ren Helin, residing in Kafei, China.

Ren has been carving wood-cut images for over 40 years and "I will never give up," he said, since it’s his life's mission. He feels compelled to pursue the craft since so few others have expressed an interest to engage in the same industry.

He worries the craft will long be forgotten after he dies, but there's good news, an 18-year-old female student named, Niu Yujie, has the same passion for woodcraft carvings and agreed to live and study under him to improve her skills.

Master Ren also operates a Kaifeng Woodblock Museum, serving as the friendly curator, willing to explain his wisdom on the topic for all visitors. He admits his craft has not generated sufficient funds for his family to live on and his wife is the real breadwinner for them.

But for a man such as Ren Helin, he takes pride in woodcut craftsmanship and without his lifelong support, it would likely be an art form in China that would have already vanished.

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


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