Description

The very ancient tradition of a storyteller going from one valley to the next spreading news from the outside world tends to decline. A couple with great experience of this street art, Gai Ying Mu and her husband Gai Ming He, nowadays only perform on demand. But when the antique loudspeaker announces their show, the peasants of the isolated valleys of the northern part of China gather together to listen in awe. They enjoy the pleasure of escaping from their everyday problems through the traditional stories they are being told with the help of a three-string instrument. Unfortunately, to make a living from this art becomes more and more difficult. Mu accuses her husband of being responsible for all the evils afflicting their life and she resents his failure to envisage a different future for their children. But, while He stubbornly goes on trying to teach the art of the three strings to their children, Mu decides to take the bull by the horns: she will have her own business, a road side snack, offering grilled lamb offal to the villagers. Sometimes, He resigns himself to help her set up her stall and he also offers his services as a occasional handyman to other people. Nevertheless, he does not want to give up and goes on looking for places where to perform their show. We return to the same family ten years later: the children, who are now also married, have their own children. Liang, the son, has become a cook, Jing, the daughter, is a beautician. Today they gather for a family reunion. After lunch, the instruments as well as the famous loudspeaker are loaded into the car. The couple is to give a performance in a neighbouring valley. Even if the casting of the little orchestra is bigger – three young apprentices now accompany the duo – the few spectators are much less enthusiastic than 10 years ago. However, the show goes on and our original couple adapts the old stories to current realities. The tradition of ancient storytelling remains alive: Ancestral China stands up against the assaults of modernity.