Bao, the Upright Judge

der rechtschaffene Richter Bao

A glimpse behind the scenes

Acrobatics and transformation as well as dance, music and song are the strong expressive elements of Peking Opera (or Jingjù), a form of traditional Chinese theater. BAO, the Upright Judge, a twelve minute documentary, opens usually closed doors to rehearsal rooms, revealing the hard work that takes place there. It acoompanies the ensemble of Shanghai’s Peking Opera Theatre to the venerable Yifu Theatre in Shanghai. Jürg Neuenschwander’s striking glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes shows Judge BAO during the final preparations before his great performance.

This particular work of Peking Opera lasts over two and a half hours. It is based on the life of the upright and fearless Chinese judge BAO Zheng, 999-1062, who lived during the Northern Song Dynasty. BAO, immediately identifiable for his black-painted face, is a revered character because – using his sword if necessary – he helps poor peasants prevail against corrupt officials, repeatedly and heroically challenging influential family clans, including the Emperor of China.

Commissioned by the Museum der Kulturen Basel, produced by Container TV AG Bern/ Shanghai as part of the exhibition „On Stage – the Art of Peking Opera“, September 6, 2011, to February 26, 2012,

In collaboration with the Chinese Cultural Center, Tongji University Shanghai, and the MediaLab, Bern University oft he Arts.


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Bao, the Upright Judge
Production Container Film AG
Collaboration Chinese Cultural Center, Tongji University Shanghai, Master Studio KIC-Tongji and MediaLab, Hochschule der Künste Bern
On behalf Museum der Kulturen Basel
Direction Juerg Neuenschwander
Director assistant Junjie Lin
Camera Philippe Cordey
Sound Gaoiun Lin
Editor Katrin Suhren
Sound-Design Peter von Siebenthal, Projektstudio Gmbh
Cooperation Ying Yu, Wenjing Zhou, Mengxuan Dai