Download - London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony
London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony:
Brilliant. It was very, very well done. This was about Great Britain; it didn’t pretend it was trying to have global appeal. Because Great Britain has self-confidence, it doesn’t need a monumental Olympics. But for China that was the only imaginable kind of international event. Beijing’s Olympics were very grand – they were trying to throw a party for the world, but the hosts didn’t enjoy it. The government didn’t care about people’s feelings because it was trying to create an image.
In London, they really turned the ceremony into a party – they are proud of themselves and respect where they come from, from the industrial revolution to now. I never saw an event before that had such a density of information about events and stories and literature and music; about folktales and movies.
At the beginning it dealt with historical events – about the land and machinery and women’s rights – epically and poetically. The director really did a superb job in moving between those periods of history and today, and between reality and the movies. The section on the welfare state showed an achievement to be truly proud of. It clearly told you what the nation is about: children, nurses and a dream. A nation that has no music and no fairytales is a tragedy.
There were historical elements in the Beijing opening ceremony, but the difference is that this was about individuals and humanity and true feelings; their passion, their hope, their struggle. That came through in their confidence and joy. It’s really about a civil society. Ours only reflected the party’s nationalism. It wasn’t a natural reflection of China.
Few of the people were performers. They were ordinary people who contribute to society – and if there is a celebration, then it should be for everyone from the Queen to a nurse. I feel happy that they can all have their moment to tell their story. It was about real people and real events and showed the independent mind of the director, but at the same time it had so much humour. There was a strong sense of the British character.
The Chinese ceremony had so much less information and it wasn’t even real. It wasn’t only about the little girl who was miming – which was an injury to her and the girl whose voice was used – but that symbolically showed the nation’s future. You can’t trust or rely on individuals or the state’s efforts.
In London there were more close-ups – it didn’t show the big formations. It had the human touch. In Zhang Yimou’s opening ceremony there was almost none of that. You could not push into a person’s face and see the human experience. What I liked most with this was that it always came back to very personal details. And that’s what makes it a nation you can trust; you see the values there. Anyone who watched it would have a clear understanding of what England is.