Film Time

Nicholas Quirke was feeling a little worried on 13 June 2020 when he heard that another 6 cases of COVID19 had been found in Beijing, once again, these related to a food market, where it was found on the cutting slabs of some imported salmon. The Market was now closed but selfishly he only thought about it affecting his proposed travel next week to Shanghai. If the feared 2nd wave started to take hold it might well leave him tied to Beijing again, though maybe now was a time to start a YouTube Vegan dining in Beijing channel. For now though it was ok and as he liked to remind others, “Never worry worry, till worry worries you”. He was making a trek to the China National Film Museum which was quite a distance and he decided to go part of the way by subway and then a 4 Km bike ride. To his delight, it meant taking the subway from Caishikou which he had discovered had not only been a vegetable market and he had a photo of the Ghost Sign that still pervaded but it was also the site, at the crossroads of the Qing Dynasty beheadings. It was ghoulish of him to have such an interest in the evil doings of the Emperors but it was certainly an illicit pleasure. When he got to Wangjing Nan station he was ready for a cycle and he got on the bike despite being a little confused by the direction the map appeared to be sending him on. He cycled and consulted the map a couple of times before he discovered he was actually going in a different direction from where he was supposed to be but he could see that all it would take was a right turn and he would be in the right direction. Why then, he asked himself after another 15 minutes was he heading on a major carriage way to the airport. Once again, he somehow was on a parallel road that was starting to wildly deviate from his path and the only way to get one track was to abandon his bike and make his way through a wilderness onto a walkway spanning 2 major road ways. He managed to get another bike and within 10 minutes he was at his destination which really was in the middle of nowhere. The Museum was off course, monumental, was impressive in its architecture, its layout and of course extremely biased towards a politically correct output. He was surprised to discover that between 1966 and 1973 no films were made in China thank to the edicts of Mao and the Gang of Four, though in 1973 Mao was kind enough to allow The film industry to flourish again. He could find very little in the museum that reflected the astonishing work of the 5tth generation film makers, Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige , Tian Zhuangzhuang that had sparked his fascination with Chinese film, but then they had trod a fine line of political criticism and maybe, though the films won International awards, at home they were viewed with distaste, and never given a cinema release. The museum is immense and by the time Peng arrived to collect him he had only seen a third of what was available to look at. They went to 789 Art district for some refreshment and a look around and while Peng enjoyed the most extravagantly served cake he had ever seen Nicholas suffered a green tea that tasted like dish water. They explored further that he previously ventured and then headed for supper at Bestease where he got to taste noodles served Beijing style. It was quite late by the time they returned to the apartment but it did not stop them from enjoying ‘The Cleansding Hour’, a rather splendid, if crass possession movie, despite having a very early 5am start the next day.

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