Movie(studio) stars!

Imagine hordes of people running around in Mao-caps and red armbands, a victim dragged in the midst. He wears a dunce cap and a sign with his name crossed out, while they taunt and jeer, pulling his arms behind his back. Must be the red guards! Actually, no. They’re middle-aged and it’s just for fun. This is Ningxia west movie studio on a Wednesday afternoon. My last day in China.

In addition to the “cultural revolution” set where you can relieve your youth in a PLA uniform or a hat, there’s a Ming dynasty village and an entire Qing-style town. Everything complete with streets, buildings, fake animals, fake people, and fake food. Its the biggest tourist attraction with Yinchuan. (possibly rivalled by the sand lake and the tombs of the western xia dynasty which was obliterated by Genghis Kahn). On its day off they film soaps and films which are broadcast across China (aside from a litany of historical series and dreadful 80s martial arts films some real big names like Red Sorghum were partly filmed here).

If the camera had been in my hands, the photos would be of locals dressing up and swarming everywhere with mobile phone cameras. Instead you’ll have to make do with my ugly mug, on the day Ellie, Xiaozi, Zhutou and xiao Ye became movie(studio) stars!

Ellie and Xiaozi in the barren desert turned openair film studio

Ellie and Xiaozi in the barren desert turned openair film studio

This food is all made of plastic. Looks pretty good, no?

This food is all made of plastic. Looks pretty good, no?

a ghost and badge The ghost gets fewer points for realism.

But the bread's awesome!

But the bread's awesome! (though would break teeth)

Do. Not. Mock. Or. Else. (ps i rapidly fell off)

The archetypal embarassing Brit abroad.

Imagine the scenes which we didn’t get photos of! Twas a rather eye-opening day.

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