by Xinhua writers Chen Zhi, Zhu Dongyang, Hao Weiwei
ASTANA, June 8 (Xinhua) -- As the first China-Kazakhstan co-production inspired by Chinese President Xi Jinping started shooting here on Thursday, film makers and producers from countries along the Belt and Road seemed ready to dredge up more stories from political leaders.
Composer, telling the rarely known life story of the late Chinese composer Xian Xinghai in Kazakhstan in 1940s, came out of the statement of President Xi in 2013 and began filming during his ongoing state visit to the Central Asian country, said the film's producer Shen Jian, president of Chinese movie-making company Shinework Pictures.
A MOVIE INSPIRED BY XI
In his first state visit to Kazakhstan in 2013, Xi, while elaborating in a speech in Nazarbayev University his proposal of the Silk Road Economic Belt, a part of the Belt and Road Initiative, explained why there is a Xian Xinghai Boulevard in the Kazakh city of Almaty that sits on the ancient Silk Road.
The road "got its name from a true story," Xi said. "At the outset of the Great Patriotic War in 1941, Xian arrived in Almaty after much travail. By then, he was worn down by poverty and illness and had no one to turn to. Fortunately, the Kazakh composer Bakhitzhan Baykadamov took care of Xian and provided him with the comfort of a home."
"It was in Almaty that Xian composed his famous works Liberation of the Nation, Sacred War and Red All over the River. He also wrote a symphony Amangeldy based on the exploits of the Kazakh national hero. These pieces served as a rallying call to fight Fascists and proved immensely popular with the local people," said the Chinese leader.
"It was a fascinating story that we have never heard of, although Xian Xinghai is a household name in China," Shen, the film's producer, told Xinhua.
"I, and my generation, grew up listening to his passionate and extremely beautiful symphonies like the Yellow River Cantata. But we didn't know he had such a deep bond with Kazakhstan," said Shen.
"I was touched by President Xi's account. It was then that I felt obliged to shoot the movie, to make Xian and his helpful Kazakh friends widely known," he said.
"A SENSATIONAL, MEMORABLE JOURNEY"
Shen's shooting plan was echoed by Kazakhstan's national Kazakhfilm JSC. The two governments, ready to sponsor more cultural exchanges and people-to-people communications, also voiced their support.
The Kazakh side had taken the movie very seriously, Shen said, adding President Nursultan Nazarbayev had given written instructions for three times to make the shooting possible.
During Xi's visit, the movie, widely taken as an exemplification of film cooperation between China and Kazakhstan, became a pilot project of the inter-government co-production shooting agreement signed on Thursday.
"What we are doing is symbolic," said Kairbekov Bakhyt, president of Kazakhfilm JSC. "Film makers, directors and actors/actresses will get acquaintance and forge friendship in this process. I wish to see more exchanges as such going on between China and my country."
Composer, directed by China's Uygur director Sherzat Yahuf, stars famous Chinese actor Hu Jun and Berik Aitzhanov, a well-known Kazakh artist that has played President Nazarbayev for many times in his biographical film series.
It was the second work of Shinework Picture's co-production shooting plan with countries along the Belt and Road. The first movie, Kung-Fu Yoga, was a comedy co-produced with India and top the Chinese box office in February.
"TEARS MAY FADE AWAY, BUT MUSIC NEVER"
On Almaty's quiet Xian Xinghai Boulevard stands a monument marking the Chinese composer. Words engraved on it read: "Xian Xinghai has built a bridge of friendship between the two peoples with his music. May his name be remembered forever, and the China-Kazakhstan companionship be passed on from generation to generation."
"It is not accidental that the friendship of Xian and Bakhitzhan Baykadamov could attract President Xi and Nazarbayev," said Kazakh actor Aitzhanov.
"The two composers, with life-long commitment to and passion for music, are role models for later generations. Their friendship is also an outstanding example of our two peoples' exchanges," said Aitzhanov.
Wang Xiaoyan, also a producer of Composer, said that "Xian belongs to both China and Kazakhstan."
"His symphony pieces like Amangeldy, with distinctive Kazakh musical touch, have contributed to the country's cultural development in and after the war. Tears and sufferings may fade away, so do political disputes, but music will never," said Wang.