BEETHOVEN IN BEIJING
This engaging documentary highlights the surprisingly pivotal role of the Philadelphia Orchestra in bringing Western classical music to China.
This insightful documentary traces the intersecting paths of two of the world’s biggest superpowers—the United States and China—using classical music as a prism through which to view the countries’ shifting fortunes. Along the way, directors Jennifer Lin and Sharon Mullally highlight the surprisingly prominent role of the Philadelphia Orchestra in China’s embrace of Western classical music. While many know about Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China in 1972, fewer know about the Philadelphia Orchestra’s 1973 tour of the country, during which they began a unique relationship that has lasted for decades. While Chinese audiences may have at first been somewhat baffled by the Orchestra’s bombastic sounds, they quickly developed an appreciation that has subsequently eclipsed Westerners’ fondness for classical music. Full of colorful characters and eye-opening anecdotes (like Mrs. Mao’s notorious disapproval of Beethoven’s 5th), Beethoven in Beijing is an engaging tapestry of sounds and stories. At a time when China and the USA are still frequently portrayed as adversaries, it’s a heartening reminder of the potential for mutual understanding and cultural exchange.
In Competition: Pinkenson Award, First Feature Award
All sales are final. You must be located within the United States to stream this film. We suggest prioritizing your lineup and watching films as close to the premiere time as possible. This title will be available until November 2nd or until streaming capacity is reached.
CLICK HERE to return to the complete 29th Philadelphia Film Festival program.