Yimou Zhang scores a hit with Olympics Opening Ceremony

China made its mark with a stunning opening ceremony to launch the Beijing Olympics on Friday night, with dazzling pyrotechnics, tribal cultural drumming and a lesson in ancient Chinese history.

The breathtaking and intricate ceremony, that was apparently eight years and over 100 million in the making, unfolded before 91,000 people at the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium. The crowd included U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. An estimated 2.3 to 4 billion watched the historic event on television. Someone has a killer DVD on their hands. I hope NBC nabbed those rights.

Chinese film director Zhang Yimou, who helmed House of Flying Daggers, Jet Li’s Hero and Curse of the Golden Flower, orchestrated the event, which opened with a quote from Confucius, that said Friends have come from afar, how happy we are.

According to a story I read online, the director said that the event would be a telling of 5,000 years of Chinese history, and it certainly did. It was an example of how history can be enjoyable, as well as entertaining.

The event starred a cast of 15,000 performers, including 2,008 drummers. It was an amazing triumph of artistry and performance.