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Yi Dances in the Film Ashima


Ashima is the first color musical film with wide screen revue and stereo in China, produced by Shanghai Film Studio, directed by famous director Liu Qiong, starred by Yang Likun and other people. This film won the Best Dance Film Award of Sandander the 3rd International Music and Dance Festival in 1982 and Wenhua Award (issued by Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China) in 1994. It was appraised as a classic of the 20th century.

This film was adapted from Ashima, a famous long poem of Sani people of the Yi nationality. Its plot goes like this: a beautiful girl of the Yi Nationality named Ahima lived in Azhuodi of Yunnan province. Ashima and Ahei, a brave and ingenuous youth loved each other. On the traditional festival of Sani people, Ahei defeat the rich boy Azhi both in shooting and wrestling. He got the ribbon and engaged to Ashima. However, Azhi also took a fancy at Ashima. He rob Ashima when Ahei was not at home. Finally Ahei took Ashima back from Azhi by winning him in singing and shooting. On their happy way back home, Azhi let the floods immerse Ashima and Ahei. When Ahei struggled to stand again, he found that Ashima had become a beautiful stone figure, standing in the stone forest forever.

There are plenty of dancing performances of the Yi nationality in this film, which is full of minority style. It comparatively gets out of the traditional mode of “story-telling”, by focusing on revealing different characteristics and the love contrary among the three youths. This is realized through different plate dancing and magnificent folk dancing.

Editor: Liu Xiongfei