By Christophe VAN ROMPAEY


Drama - Development 2011

BLUE BIRDS is a urban fable about love and obsession. A romantic tragedy, about 3 generations of one family, separated by treason in the past. Their lives intertwine at the premiere of the Kun opera "Palace of Eternity", one of the best-known Chinese love stories.

    • Year of production
    • 2011
    • Genres
    • Drama
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • Duration
    • 110 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Christophe VAN ROMPAEY
    • Writer(s)
    • Kristoff LEUE, Tongtong FANG, Shanshan WU
    • Producer(s)
    • Synopsis
    • Gong, orphaned at eight, comes back after being abroad for sixteen years. He is to follow in his grandfather Wensheng's footsteps and become a civil servant at the Bureau of Culture. In anticipation of the marriage that his late parents hoped for, he has moved in with his grandparents. The high expectations of his fiancée, Xin-Xin, and his homecoming to a city where he has never lived cause him a great deal of anxiety. He befriends Lu, a girl he meets at the office and apparently the only person who doesn’t seem to expect anything from him. Their bond challenges his loyalty and emotions.
      Ping is the prima donna at the Kun Opera Company. She is in the throes of preparing for the premiere of the legendary love epic Palace of Eternity. She will play the leading role, that of the favourite Lady Yang, who sacrifices herself and commits suicide to secure the throne for the Emperor. This is a character she has refused to play all her life, out of respect for her late mother who excelled in the role.
      Chen, her lover and a wealthy businessman, talked her into accepting. He invests heavily in the opera company. The Clear Jade Princely Palace in which the opera company performs belongs to a real estate group of which he is a shareholder. He invites Stephan, a European artist, to portray the actual and factual restauration of KUN opera. For Chen, a successful opera performance, with his beloved as the shining star, would move their love ánd his business in the right direction.
      Ping and Gong’s destinies seem to be inextricably intertwined. Wensheng, Gong's grandfather and, as will be revealed, Ping's father carries a heavy burden. In the sixties, in order to save his own life, Wensheng betrayed not only his love for the arts, but also his love for Jieyu, an opera singer with whom he was having a passionate love affair.
      The premiere of Palace of Eternity brings all these characters together. Not only do their real lives become entwined, but the opera itself will ineluctably determine their destinies.
      Gong, who is duty-bound as civil servant to attend the performance, is fascinated by the appearance of Lady Yang. This enchantment and a rough and almost fatal encounter with a street gang, will lead Gong to slip from a state of infatuation into madness.
      As a former member of the Bureau of Culture, Wensheng has seen many operas in his lifetime, but tonight's performance is very confronting and brings forth a flood of memories.
      Ping realizes that her life is nothing but a series of trade-offs and compromises. In spite of the success and admiration she enjoys, she feels alone in a world where everything has become interchangeable.
      Stephan intrigued by the century-old love story in which love triumphs over death embarks on a journey of discovery of Chinese culture and starts to fall for his guide Ping.
      Chen thrives in the tough world of big business. His self-confidence is however dealt a severe blow when he draws a short straw and must bow down to his peers. When he also finds Stephan with his mistress, he breaks down completely.
      It seems that Wensheng may make up for his betrayal and reunite his family when he involves Ping to save Gong from the claws of his obsession. Ping makes up Lu, Gong's real love, as Lady Yang. Ping however is made aware of the mere gloss of the theatre and, by extension, of her own life. She chooses to stay loyal to Lady Yang to the bitter end and to live her last moments in this world as her alter ego. With the ultimate release a heartbeat away, the only remaining question is: will Wensheng be able to save his daughter too? To do so he must do one thing... say her name out loud: Blue Bird.
    • Partners & financing
    • VAF (Flemish Film Fund) - Development Support
      MEDIA - Support for Single Projects
      Belgian National Lottery - Tax Shelter Partner
    • Beginning of shooting
    • Mar 01, 2011