Zhang Yimou, director of the opening
ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games, unveils the "secrets" of the
ceremony after the event at a news conference in Beijing, China, Aug. 9,
2008. (Xinhua/Yin Gang)
by Xinhua writer Zhu Yifan
BEIJING, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- "I regret many things,
many details of this performance, many things that I could have done better,"
said Zhang Yimou, director of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games,
at a press conference here on Saturday.
After planning and carrying out a spectacular event
that reflected the ancient and modern images of China to the world, Zhang
remained humble and reflective.
"For example, there are performers who were injured.
I blame myself for that. It might well have been avoided if I had given more
detailed instructions," he said.
"We had many difficulties. I do not like complaining,
but sometimes there are obstacles you can not overcome, that you and your team
have to face," he said. "What everyone cares about is the final result. We all
know this, so we don't explain."
Contrary to the harsh criticism he reserved for
himself, the acclaimed film director gave unreserved acclaim to the team as a
whole. "I would give our whole team a '100' in the performance of the opening
ceremony," Zhang said.
A multimedia, three-dimensional display on such a
large scale is very complicated and demands the utmost of each member of the
team, he said.
About 22,000 people took part in the gala, in which
15,000 costumes were used and 43,000 fireworks lit.
With all the technical complexities involved, the
opening ceremony was 100 times more difficult than making a movie, he said,
adding that such a performance was unprecedented in the world.
Despite the complexity and spectacular nature of the
event, Friday's ceremony wasn't as costly as it might have looked. According to
Zhang, the total cost for the opening and closing ceremonies of both the
Olympics and the Paralympics would not exceed that of the Doha Asian Games
Opening ceremony alone. That extravaganza in the Gulf reportedly cost 180
million U.S. dollars.
"We encouraged economic use of resources in preparing
for the Olympic Games," Zhang said.
When asked whether Beijing's ceremony would put
pressure on London, the next host city of the Games, Zhang laughed: "I think
they would feel pressured.
"A large-scale performance like this is really hard,
so we also did our research on previous ceremonies. At least in the use of
multimedia, I assume London could not surpass our level such a short time [from
now]. They might not be able to make it in several years," Zhang said.
"But London might have other creative ideas. We can
each have our own tour de force. I wish the London Olympics a success," Zhang
After a moving opening, the closing ceremony, Zhang
revealed, would focus on presenting a cheerful atmosphere and would have many
jubilant scenes. The crucial issue was to extinguish the Olympic flame.
"I wish I could get a good night's sleep, free of
worries, but coming are the closing ceremony and the Paralympics. Our team never
rested, we always kept moving," he said.