Beijing Rocks

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Beijing Rocks, Hongkong movie about the Beijing underground rock scene

Names in China: Music and Road in Beijing and Happiness and Anger in Beijing[1]


General information

Released: 2001

Director: Mabel Cheung (Zhang Wanting)

Intention of the movie

According to Groenewegen:

Cheung took considerable efforts to make Beijing Rocks realistic and the making-of that is part of the DVD-version shows that she is sympathetic towards the underground rock scene saying “I wanted to portray the energetic life of these young people.” As early as 1999 she came to the capital. In January 2000 she witnessed a Tongue-show, had contact with them afterwards and considered including live footage of a performance in the old Garden of Joy in the movie. Cheung also saw Borders of Freedom and wanted Sun Zhiqiang to be part of her production team. She hired Yan Jun as well, who commented on the script and introduced Cheung to many musicians. Somewhere in May or July Cheung started casting rock musicians for secondary roles in the movie, and chose, among others, Li Dan for a role as the drummer of the band of the main character.[2]

Reactions of the rock scene

Despite first positive reactions and bands participated actively. However on October 12th 2000 (a few days before the start of the film shooting), Yan Jun, Wu Tun and Sun Zhiqiang got a developed version of the script and realized the movie was not going to be an honest documentary on the underground community but a commercial love-story to which the underground scene served the role of a sensational background. Thereafter Yan Jun wrote the Tree Village Declaration and almost all the active bands and musicians of the scene denounced their cooperation.[3]

Further information


  1. Cheung 2001: Mabel Cheung (Zhang Wanting) (director), Beijing Rocks, Media Asian Films, Hongkong (DVD).
  2. Groenewegen, J. (2005). Tongue - Making sense of Beijing underground rock, 1997-2004 (pdf). Page 76.
  3. Groenewegen, J. (2005). Tongue - Making sense of Beijing underground rock, 1997-2004 (pdf). Page 76 & 77.