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I’m watching 北京记忆, a documentary series produced by BTV. The first episode tells a lot of tales of old times, the dawn of economic reform 30 years ago. I think it’s going to celebrate China’s achievement and cover lots of events that happened in the past 3 decades, with pride, joy, and nostalgia.

I’m mainly attracted by the retrospect part. It brings back many warm and sweet memories when life was simple and poor. I lived in the city for 20 years. Ah, love this place and its people! The core land of the Chinese race, my own holy city.

However I can’t say it’s a complete history of Beijing if it doesn’t cover pre-Republic era.

The picture quality of download version is good. Shot in 16:9 format and looks good even on large screen TV.

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For downloading, http://www.verycd.com/topics/2749515/

douban: http://www.douban.com/subject/3543965/

Online video sites are all slow to me, so I didn't bother to search.

I've watched 6 episodes so far, the first 4 and last 2. This is the best documentary series I've seen this year. (Last year was BBC's Wild China.) Of course, this is all totaly personal.

It has many well made effects. It uses old photoes to create a 3D effect, which looks very nice. It also has silly flaws. The video from the 80s that are in 4:3 ratio are stretched to 16:9 format. Awful.

It's mostly about now and then, very little about between. It skipped the 1990s, which was my best years. So I feel the series is more for those who are older than me.

I think here among forum members, roddy might have lived in China for the longest time. (Is there a record?) Probably not long enough to enjoy the feel of the show. There is one, however, a British shop owner who has lived in Beijing for 15 years, whose Chinese name is 江森海. His shop has a lot of old stuff. He said in the show,


He said very well. This is all about MY town, my life, my story. They're shared memories, but also very personal.

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I still have 3 episodes to go, but I now can give a short introduction of each episode’s content and highlights.

Episode 1 to 4 don’t have specific subjects. They have a lot tales of the lives after cultural revolution and at the beginning of economic reform, how people boldly tested new things and strived to live a better life. Starting from episode 5, it becomes very specific.


The boom of art, music, and culture. They seem more liberal than today. If you’ve been vigorously study politics, this episode has some clues of how the political climate changed and resulted in the incident of [that year].


Food. Almost all about 冬储大白菜. A bit boring and too long.


Lots of social phenomena. A few keywords are 个体户、下海、出国。You’ll see young 葛优、吕丽萍、姜文 in their early career. 编辑部的故事 and 北京人在纽约 were both best TV drama shows at the time.


Housing. How families looked like at that time. You’ll step into many typical families at different stages.


Haven’t seen this one. Looks like about new immigrants and native Beijingers.


Transportation. From bikes to cars.


Telecom. Haven’t seen this one. I suppose it’s about the day when the first telephone was installed at your home.


Commerce. Haven’t seen this one.


Comparison of east districts and west districts. Beijing’s east is pure business and very globalized, while the west is packed with China’s best universities and academic institutes, more about culture and intellectual. I put it this way: east is Beijing’s Shanghai, west is Beijing’s Beijing. It’s so sweet to see Zhongguancun in its early stage again. I was very familiar with that street, every inch of it. The lesson for us is that you should take as many photos as possible. Even if they don’t mean anything now, some years later, the things in your photos will be completely wiped out, and the only thing left is your memories and photos you gratefully reserved.


Road construction.


The city’s ambitions. The new architectures: Bird’s Nest, Water Cube, National Theatre, CCTV Towers.

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