The 2016 documentary “Masters in Forbidden City” (“I repair cultural relics in the Forbidden City”) received a Douban score of 9.4 and an IMDb score of 8.3. Now, the sister piece of this documentary has come, and Masters in the Forbidden City (“I have been in the Imperial Palace for 600 years”) also got a high score of Douban 9.2.
The documentary takes the exhibition of “Everlasting Splendor”, the research protection project of Yangxin Hall, and the annual repair and maintenance of ancient buildings as clues, and through the perspective of the work of the people in the Palace Museum, such as the Department of Ancient Construction, the Department of Repair and Technology, the Department of Engineering, the Ministry of Culture and Technology, the Ministry of Archaeology, and so on, to take the audience to re-explore the Imperial Palace. The documentary focuses on the renovation and protection of ancient buildings, records the craftsmen who take good care of the Forbidden City inside the palace walls, shows the relationship between the people of the world outside the palace walls and the city, and tells the story of the eternal youth of the Forbidden City.
The documentary, which began broadcasting on the CCTV Documentary Channel on December 31, 2020, has been completed for a total of three episodes. The documentary is produced by the China Media Group and the Palace Museum, directed by Liang Junjian and Zhang Yuejia, and filmed by the China Media Group Film and Television documentary Center. On the Internet, the audience can watch the film on the official website of CCTV.
In the first episode, the exhibition of “Everlasting Splendor” traces back 600 years of history and tells the story of the Forbidden City to the world in detail. The Forbidden City embodies the skill and ingenuity of generations of craftsmen, as well as the wisdom and painstaking efforts of maintainers of the Forbidden City. In the long relay, the time and responsibility of each staff member of the Forbidden City finally made the palace with red walls and yellow tiles remembered by the world.
In the second episode, at the end of 2015, the Palace Museum began its first overhaul of Yangxin Hall in more than a hundred years, making the palace a high-profile project in a research renovation project. No city can continue to exist without people. Behind the overhaul of Yangxin Hall is the cohesion of ingenuity and perseverance of the people in the Imperial Palace from generation to generation.
In the third episode, with the gradual retirement of the third generation of craftsmen, the skills of maintaining the Forbidden City are also faced with the dilemma of no successors. To this end, a long-term talent training plan has been worked out. In the palace, young people follow old masters to make bricks and paint walls, and the secret of ancient skills is hidden in it and passes on through talents.
“Masters in Forbidden City” (“I repair cultural relics in the Forbidden City”) is well received among Chinese audiences because it not only shows the Forbidden City, cultural relics, and history but also shows the experts and craftsmen involved in it. The emotional expression of the whole film is very warm and delicate. “Masters in the Forbidden City” (“I have been in the Forbidden City for 600 years”) also continues this style, while making it more clear that “generations are the soul of the Forbidden City”, expressing a strong humanistic spirit.
In recent years, archaeology, historical documentaries and variety shows have emerged one after another in China, attracting many enthusiasts to join related disciplines or industries. Now, when volunteers are needed for archaeological activities, it is easy to receive applications from many netizens, and even some applicants will feel frustrated that they have not been selected.
In addition, the economy relying on the Palace Museum has also developed like a raging fire in recent years. The Imperial Palace set up its own creative department in 2008 and has since made some achievements in e-commerce. As the Imperial Palace often produces all kinds of cleverly designed and well-made derivative goods, the way the Imperial Palace operates has become a learning content for many Chinese businessmen.