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Film ID  ACE409
Article  A
Title  Bridge to the Past
Series  Black Arts Video Project
Date  1994
Director  Raymond Yeung
Production Company  Force 8 Productions
Synopsis  A stylised drama, incorporating elements of Peking opera and martial arts, which examines the beliefs underlying the Chinese Hungry Ghosts’ Festival.
Minutes  21 min
Choreographer  Hi Ching
Full synopsis  ACE409.2 (00:00:00 - 00:10:35)
Young Chinese woman holding up paper lantern walks slowly towards painted doors, beats her fists against them and screams. Young (dead) woman describing how her daughter, now living in Britain, and older than her mother, has not forgotten her and burns joss sticks and offers food for her, particularly during the Hungry Ghosts’ Festival, during which the Gate of Hell will be open for thirty days. She explains that Hell does not judge by physical appearance but by the heart. The young woman, “an ancestor, not a ghost” introduces Chung, a hungry ghost, who eats food left out by the daughter, now offering paper money. The story of Mu Lian, a disciple of the Buddha, who went to Hell in search of his mother. He sees spirits being beaten and tortured. Ancestor dancing with Chung while her daughter offers a paper aeroplane to help her return to China, a paper tape recorder, etc. Ancestor explains that Chung gets no offerings from his wife because he was an adulterer, and says he was probably castrated in Hell.

ACE409.3 (00:10:35 - 00:21:00)
Mu Lian finds his mother, now a hungry ghost. Everything he tries to feed her crumbles to nothing. Chung dancing seductively. Ancestor explains that Chinese opera groups are traditionally asked to entertain believers and ghosts for three days. Daughter worshipping Ancestor and her ancestors. Ancestor explains that her daughter burning Hell banknotes has meant that she is not lost in Hell. Mu Lian fighting a demon. His mother is distressed. Mu Lian sees Kwan Yin who passes on Buddha’s instructions to worship his ancestors and provide them with sacrificial offerings, as well as give a grand feast each year for the hungry ghosts, with the result that his mother eventually goes to Heaven. Ancestor watches her daughter as she sleeps, saying that she’s afraid of being forgotten. For her, the Hungry Ghost Festival is not just a bridge to the past: with her offerings she is also building a bridge to the future. Credits.

Full credits  Mother/Mu Lian, Colette Koo; Daughter/Mu Lian’s Mother, Jacqui Chan; Chung/Goddess, Chowee Leow; Demon, Tom Wu; Hungry Ghost 1, Sean Buckley; Hungry Ghost 2, Louise Ballantyne; Hungry Ghost 3, Peter Saracen; Hungry Ghost 4, Antony Etherton. 1st A.D. Andy Gunn; 2nd A.D. Ewan Moar; Continuity Vanessa Foster; Camera Assistant Oleg Poupko; Clapper Loader Renee Nelson-Lewis Gaffer Cristina Onyett; Art Director Chris Jones; Gate Design Justin Overhill; Art Dept Assistant Julia Groves; Costume Designer Jodie Overhill; Costume Assistant Maisie Butters; Make-up Designer T.C. Make-Up Assistant June Chanika, Janet Dodsworth; Choreographer Hi Ching; Sound Recordist Hugh Graham; Boom Operator Coleen Cruise; Stills Photographer Nick Gurney; Runner Alex Spanswick; Off-line Editor Andy Crabb; On-line Editor Crispin Holland; Sound Editor Marvin Black; Music Chris Cozens; Director of Photography Tania Hoser; Produced by Raymond Yeung, Vicky Lowe; Written and Directed by Raymond Yeung. Thanks to Video London, Soho 601, Priory Studios, Tom Harding, Nick Hale, Fuji UK, David Morgan, Pauline Stride, Rachel Cochrane, Simon Lewis, Susie Grange-Barrett, David Lewis, Robin Davies, Unique Catering, James Van Der Pool, Rosa Fong. Processed by Colour Film Services. Funded by The Arts Council of Great Britain. Force 8 Productions © 1994.
Watch segments  ACE409.2 (00:00:00 - 00:10:35)
ACE409.3 (00:10:35 - 00:21:00)
Watch movie 

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