Chinese opera are indeed the ancient forms of opera in the world. For instance, as early as during the reigns of Tang (618-907), the Emperor Taizong introduced a school of opera based on the poetic name Liyuan (Pear Garden). As time went by, most performers from China were known as the disciples of the pear garden (Dale 36). After the reigns of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), there has been encouragement coming from both court officials and the emperors. For this reason, it has become a traditional perspective for performing operas in China. A good example in this instance is the periods of Qing Dynasty where it became more fashionable in acting operas among the common people. The performance of most of these items took place in the tearooms, restaurants and even to some extent the makeshift stages.
One of the movies in Chinese Opera scene is the Woman Demon Human. As part of the Chinese Opera, this movie applies the use of folk songs, dances, talking, antimasque and also the distinctive dialectical music. In this movie, it also presents the actress Pei Yanling's career as that which started from the late of the 1950s up to the period of 1980s. Also, each and every chapter presents this actress life as her ever pondering flashback in the mirror (Dale 43). Through the reflection in the mirror, she can see two selves; one dressed in costume as Zhong Kui while the other as she passes through the mirror. Consequently, the audience, in this case, gets whisked off in next dramatic episode. Likewise, this opera is also fascinating since it bends the reality and also raises questions with regards to gender and identity that are not in most of the occasions covered in most of the Chinese operas (Dale 51). At the same time, there are also probable indications that this movie contributed to the criticism to the producer, Huang Shujqin's name. Also, within the criticism developed in females, this movie is indeed the only one that in Chinese Opera scene that may be referred to as the women's film. In this work, this production may as well as be viewed in so many great perspectives altogether. The instance is due to it being produced based on China's current cultural critique, raising of voice of malice that mostly were prevalent during the cultural life of the period of the 1980s.
Another aspect worth noting from the Chinese Opera is that they use music, art and literature when performing on stage (Kennedy and Dana 46). On top of this, the opera also make use of the traditional instruments such as the Erhu and Lute. Actors on their side use unique melodies that at times may appear much strange to the foreigners. On top of this, these operas also utilize the aspect of dialogue that is well composed with highest contents of literature. The value of the dialogue in most of these Chinese Operas is to enhance the development of the distinct styles of literature such as the Zaju in the Yuan Dynasty. Indeed, to Chinese themselves, especially the older generations, it is always a pleasure when watching these types of opera since they come with real entertainment. With regards to the real life story of Pei Yanling, in the Women Demon Human movie, it represents the most renowned female actor who leads among the roles played by males in the Hebei Opera. In this regard, her well-known role is acting as the underworld demon catcher, Zhong Kui(Kennedy and Dana 57). From one of the interviews with a female who was one of the directors, Huang Shuqin noted, "What caught me by a surprise about Pei Yanling was due to the fact she is such a charming actress but was so petty as much as she was playing the role of the rugged, ugly ghost catcher Zhong Kui. Likewise, the instance made me get stuck where in this case; it was just a mere spiritual journey that merited to delving into". Meanwhile, the film starts with a shot of Qiuyun, who is the fictitious persona of Pei Yanling. Qiuyun is an adult whose dress makeups bring a lot of confusion within the array of mirrors. For instance in some mirrors, she is more of a fully composed character as that male character Zhong Kui (Kennedy and Dana 67). However, in other cases, she is just the obvious adult woman. On the other hand, her story develops through flashbacks on her childhood and her early days of her adult life. Such stories are interspersed with instances of dreamlike phenomena where Zhong Kui appears to be dancing and also fighting the demons on every ethereal stage. That said Qiuyun ends becoming more confused with regards to her identity since her onstage case male identity or persona starts to wear off within her offstage female life experiences. With regards to the same, the instance is further made complex through her association with her parents. For example, her father who had specialization in playing Zhong Kui is not comfortable with her joining the profession though has had strong bondage with each other following the departure of the mother after divorcing the father to another man.
The marvelous acrobatics within the Chinese Opera is another technique that makes most lovers of them to be much fascinated. For instance, players may make use fire spray from their mouths at that time where they play the role of ghosts or spirits (Hong and Michael 38). Added to this, the actors can even gallop while acting the role of a dwarf. On related context, Quinn an actor in Women Demon Human movie encounters a lot of hardship on the way that also comes with frequent misfortunes. At some instances, she gets wins that leads to her being successful after passing through the tough times. A scenario where she witnessed her parents engaging sexual intercourse at her childhood period indeed brought her a lot of psychological and mental torture (Hong and Michael 44). In this regard, she also becomes a victim of traditional ideas such as morality. In this case, the aspect ended up humiliating her lover though she gets hurt by a fellow actress. Her mother's fellow actress had jealousy over her talent because of the hypocritical display. Within the context of the Chinese modernity of enlightenment and the opera scene, Qiuyun's mother's case of adultery as a form of love plus also her deciding to elope with another man upon breaking up with her husband who is Qiuyun's father, are indeed what form part of rebellion or resistance to the moral ethics of the traditions. Through her ignorance, Qiuyun becomes a victim of various ideas of the tradition though she identifies herself with them (Hong and Michael 59). In this case, it is why she is parallel to most her friends during her childhood days, has unsuccessful episodes of love as well as not leading peaceful marriage all the time. Added to this, she undergoes estrangement from her mother, and it is, for this reason, her father meets her though they fail to acknowledge each other.
Indeed, what attract so many foreigners into the Chinese Opera are the varied styles of the composition such as painting techniques. Through these exaggerated designs of most of the Chinese Opera, enable the audience to know more on the personality of a character, his or her role and also fate (Hong and Michael 64). The origin of this technique may be from the ancient religions and dances. Meanwhile, an audience that is aware of most of these styles used in most of these Chinese Opera may find it easy in telling more on the story through observation of the paintings and the costumes altogether (Dale 67). For instance, the red face in Chinese Opera is a symbol of loyalty and bravery while the black, yellow and white colors are a representation of mysteries. On a related note, being one of the first films to act on feminist in China, Women Demon Human provides the exploration of the matters relating to roles played by gender and the whole of the female fraternity subject to exquisite mise-en-scène and also following careful conceived framing (Dale 76). For instance, the move raises issues concerned with identity and gender by applying narration on personal, spiritual and instances of artistic maturation within the context of the female protagonist. Being that most of this movie focuses on the cultural failures such as the male chauvinism that again find their integration in the national perspective, the film indeed relates the complicated relationship of Qiuyun with the outside world. In this movie, Huang Shuqin had an intention of making this movie as, "The Chinese woman's image that I prefer is that woman as much as may face difficulties should at one time identify her real worth within the society as a whole". On top of this, Qiuyun in most of the occasions is unsuccessful in her personal life though has a lot of success through her career as an artist (Dale 81). Through the consideration of the issue complicated relationship that is there between Qiuyun and others as well as with Qiuyun and herself, the film, in this case, does speak more on the aspects of multiplicity, various voices such as those of women consciousness.
Over 800 years ago, the evolution of Chinese opera has occurred in various regional sects depending on the local traits and accents. As at present, there are more than 300 dazzling styles within the scene of Chinese Opera. For example, Kun Opera is that type of opera that evolved near Jiangsu Province and is indeed an old opera style with features of gentleness and clearness with it altogether (Hong and Michael 76). On the other hand, the voice presented by Huang Shuqin in Women Demon Human is indeed a voice of history. For instance, during 1980 China was undergoing the second episodes of cultural criticisms in the same manner of the May Fourth Period. During this time, the major roots that sought revolution within the field of literature that made the literature itself gain its popularity were the acceptance, and the criticisms levied on traditional Chinese Culture (Sengers 64). The instance was also not present within literature but also within the films produced by fourth and fifth generation directors. The generation directors were mostly leaned towards the cultural reflection and deconstruction. In this regard, it brings into attention that Woman Demon Human had a particular context of its both conceiving and production such as the root-seeking culture, application of symbolism as seen through the film's language to present its cultural critique. Due to this instance, the audience can see the aspects of close-ups such as Qiuyun while still a child is confronted by boys. The other aspect of symbolism is that of the encircle gaze that revolves around the protagonist and the cases of arc shots that represents the crowd that is slandering with gossips with regards to the scene of opera (Sengers 79). Also, the frequency of the use of close-ups in the movie stresses on the issue of cultural deviousness within the crowd and at the same time also utilizes the plain identity of the narrator with the protagonist. In this regard, it expresses the common emotions that result from fear and also destitution of the national feelings. For this reason, Huang Shuqin makes use of the literal mirror as a way of the proposing the identity of a character formation, the manner of its fragmentation and also the extent in which it merges with several selves into one unit. On top of this, the author also uses the literal mirror as a tool for prolonging the story altogether.
In conclusion, Chinese opera are still the best operas in the world despite them being the most ancient operas in the world. The reason is because of their high technique of composition and use of the high content of literature in them compared to other operas in the world. Added to this, Chinese operas also pass strong messages to the audience due to their use good techniques during their composition plus also good literature contents.