Tell the story of China well. The domestic food documentary "Fragrance" is overseas.


Tell the story of China well. The domestic food documentary "Fragrance" is overseas.

China is a gourmet country. Delicious food with good color, smell and shape, distinctive food schools, unique flavor that makes people linger, etc., have all become the theme of documentary performance.

From China on the Tip of the Tongue, Looking for Shunde, to Taste of Old Guangzhou, Origin of Flavor Chaoshan, and recently, the first season of Flavor World was successfully released to many TV stations around the world, covering many countries and regions in Asia-Pacific and North. Domestic food documentaries not only focused on the food culture and living habits of contemporary China people, but also tried to export China culture overseas, opening a window for the world with documentaries.

Although food culture is natural and international, it is the best international communication theme. However, domestic food documentaries not only present the richness and diversity of China food, but also show some humanistic stories behind the food, and convey profound people’s livelihood and people-oriented important ideas, which has become an important window for the world to understand China.

Tell wonderful food stories

China on the Tip of the Tongue has three seasons. The first season was premiered in 2012, which aroused heated discussion and widespread concern. It was quickly translated into many languages and sold to more than 80 countries and regions, making it one of the most distributed documentaries in China.

Watch China on the Tip of the Tongue, and you will find that it is quite similar in structure to those representative BBC documentaries. BBC’s natural history documentaries mostly add more modular structure and more entertainment elements to the traditional documentary techniques, forming a program style called "documentary entertainment" and being accepted by the public.

Similarly, China on the Tip of the Tongue also uses cross-editing, focusing on food, telling stories between people and food, between people, between people and hometown and even between home and country, enriching the expression space and creation space of food documentaries and deepening the ideological connotation of food festivals. In addition, it also contains some humanistic thinking, telling the geography, ceremony and ethics behind the food with concise narration, so that the audience can feel the long history of Chinese food culture.

Since then, a large number of food documentaries have followed this creative method, telling a lot of life or life stories around food. Some even tell transnational stories and bring more international elements into documentaries. Food or ingredients are just clues that run through an episode of documentary.

For example, the series of documentaries "Origin of Flavor" takes food as the window, explores the rich products in China, praises farming and labor, and shows people’s life concepts in different regions with delicious food as the medium. Flavor Origin series documentaries, Flavor Origin Chaoshan and Flavor Origin Yunnan, are the first documentary works produced by China team that Netflix took the initiative to purchase copyright and promoted globally.

Flavor world

Flavor Room examines the uniqueness of China cuisine from a global perspective, explores the evolution of China cuisine in the process of historical evolution, and deeply discusses the relationship between people and food in China. This global perspective has made a diversified "food exploration documentary". For example, the episode "Chicken Style Theory" in the second season of "Flavor World" covers more than a dozen chicken dishes, such as chicken stewed with mushrooms and chicken jiaozi in Heilongjiang, roast chicken and marathon chicken in Africa, ginseng soup and fried chicken in Korea, shredded chicken with ginseng soup and roast chicken in Suzhou, Anhui.

Chen Xiaoqing, director of Flavor World, once said, "Food is the best goodwill ambassador." Food documentaries not only introduce China’s diet with spectacular images and dramatic stories, but also explore the world outlook, values and choices of lifestyle and interpersonal relationships belonging to China culture by means of diet in a way that can be understood by contemporary and even world audiences.

Show the real life of ordinary China people.

In addition to the colorful food itself, the daily life of ordinary people has also become the theme of documentary performance. Ordinary people coming to the front desk of the documentary not only vividly show how China people extend their historical traditions to their present life, but also help other cultural groups to overcome obstacles and barriers and understand the real China people and China culture in the context of contemporary life.

"A String of Life" focuses on barbecue food, showing the scene that ordinary people in China enjoy barbecue. In order to improve the daily scene effect of the picture, the film aims at the noisy streets, smoky kebabs, people with big mouths and scattered bamboo sticks. These pictures highlight a scene in the life of ordinary people in China, which is very real.

"Breakfast China" focuses on breakfast in three meals a day. By showing various special breakfasts, it tells the daily life stories of shopkeepers and shows their mental state. Although the program is short, only a few minutes, but from a few words and simple pictures, we can observe the living conditions of ordinary China people in the fireworks. Together with documentaries about China’s great achievements, rapid economic and social development and changes, these short stories about ordinary people’s daily diet and life constitute a true three-dimensional and comprehensive China.

Create a gourmet "video spectacle"

The unexpected exquisite pictures, especially the "image spectacle" with strong visual impact, are the important reasons why many China food documentaries are welcomed by overseas audiences. China has a vast territory and abundant resources, and its rich ingredients have created a variety of eating habits and culture, which not only provides rich materials for documentary creation, but also provides a huge creative space for creating a unique "video spectacle" of food.

The first season of China on the Bite of the Tongue was taken from different provinces in China. The unique geographical and natural environment, the unique ingredients and their cooking methods, and the mature process of food production are transformed into amazing spectacle images under high-definition cameras and a large number of microscopic lenses.

The diversity of "Between Mountains and Seas" in "Flavor World" presents the south bank of the snow-capped Ulungu River in Xinjiang, the simple and beautiful ancient town Nanping, the endless wheat fields on the Heluo Plain, the plateau landforms in Gansu and the dense mountains in the southwest, bringing the audience into the vast mountains and rivers of China and the magnificent artistic conception.

In addition to constantly exploring the food content, these documentaries also draw lessons from the production mode of "high concept" and pursue the audio-visual level of "film texture". Close-ups with shallow depth of field and aerial photography with special perspectives reflect the pursuit of spectacle effect in Internet documentaries. These comparable film quality and carefully selected shooting themes together constitute a spectacular viewing effect, which has become an important driving force for documentaries to improve quality and market performance in recent years.

Source: China United booth, Guangming Daily, Global Times, etc.


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