Video: Five from Beijing: Vision or Propaganda?

Amid protests targeting the “real” China beneath the Olympic fervor, the five Vision Beijing short films made their television debut this week, while Iranian director Majid Majidi received the Bird’s Nest prize for his submission, “Colors Fly,” reports the Tehran Times:

Iran’s ambassador to China Javad Mansuri…participated in the ceremony and referred to Majidi as an outstanding Iranian filmmaker whose short film about has been highly acclaimed.

“As a spectator I believe that Majidi’s movie was more expressive and eloquent than the other productions (in the project) and the humanitarian aspects of his story were more strongly developed,” Mansuri told IRNA.

All five shorts debuted Feb. 28 on CCTV, as well as on Sohu.com and television stations throughout Italy, France and Iran.

Despite the barrage of criticism China has faced leading up to the Olympics, including ’s highly publicized withdrawal from his Olympic organizing role over China’s slow response to Darfur, the film directors have defended their participation in the Vision Beijing project, according to The Independent:

“Art should have nothing to do with politics,” said [Majidi]. “On the contrary, art may be undermined if it is connected with something like this.”

Fellow director Daryl Goodrich of Britain said that he doesn’t see his short film as “propaganda”:

“Respect for human rights is absolutely essential wherever you are in the world, that’s non-negotiable,” he said. “I was invited to make a film about sports, about children and to celebrate the Olympic Games. That’s what I do and that’s why I came to Beijing and I had a wonderful time. Do I think it is a propaganda film? I think no. I’ve gone out to depict a story … of dedication and passion from a very young age to very old.”

Below, for your own consideration, is Goodrich’s submission, “Belief,” followed by the three other directors’ films:

“Reunion”, by Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore:

“Film Impressionistic,” by French director Patrice Leconte:

“Color, Fragrance, Taste Beijing,” by Hong Kong director Andrew Lau Wai-Keung:

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