Nian - Celebration of Chinese New Year
Apple celebrates the Chinese New Year with a short film entitled Nian, shot on iPhone 12 Pro Max
According to Chinese mythology, a Nian is a beast that lives under the sea or in the mountains.
The character nian more usually means "year" or "new year". The earliest written sources that refer to the nian as a creature date to early 20th century. As a result, it is unclear whether the Nian creature is an authentic part of traditional folk mythology or a part of a local oral tradition which was recorded in the early 20th century.
Nian is one of the key characters in the Chinese New Year with scholars citing it as the reason behind several practices during the celebration such as wearing red clothing and creating noise from drums and fireworks.
According to the ancient Chinese legend, in ancient time, there was a ferocious monster named “Nian” with sharp teeth and horns. Secluding itself in the dark sea for a long time, the beast would go onshore by the end of the lunar year and hunt people and livestock. Therefore, every time before the New Year’s Eve, all the villagers would escape to remote mountains to avoid Nian.
The tale concludes with villagers being enlightened by the truth that the bamboo burning cracking, red color and bright light were magic keys to scare away the monster. In order to celebrate the triumph over the monster, people dressed in new and visited neighbors to share the joy. The news spread, and everyone commanded the ways of defending against the beast.
Hence, on every New Year's Eve, people would paste red spring couplets, light candles, burn bamboos and later set off firework to ward off all the evil spirits. The entire village and town were ablaze with lights, and people would stay up to welcome the New Year.
Many of the traditions are inherited till today. According to the story, Chinese New Year's Day or the Spring Festival is also called "Guo Nian", which means surviving in the Nian's attack. The red becomes the most popular color for festival celebration and dressing code.
From this classic mythological tale springs forth the new short from filmmaker Lulu Wang, and created by the team behind the Golden Globe nominated film, The Farewell. This 12 minute film that tells the tale of a fearless young girl that befriends the monster was shot entirely on Apple's new critically acclaimed iPhone 12 Pro Max.
This film short is indicative of the type of art and culture I want to feature in this section of the Applefanboi site. It personifies and embraces the art, history, and culture of the Chinese people.
It's a classic tale and a celebration of regrowth and renewed life in the forthcoming new year.
But, how do you make a movie without using a movie camera?
See how Director Lulu Wang pulled it off with the iPhone 12 Pro Max and go behind the scenes of Apple’s latest Chinese New Year film, Nian.
All it takes is a little creativity to make cinema magic, just like the movies. Music by Roman Senyk
Here's a behind the scenes look at how this film was shot, edited and produced using Apple products and services. I expect to see more filmmakers create stunning works of art using these new leading edge devices and supporting services. These new tools will help create whole new genres.
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