Written In Dust is event cinema and music performance: a contemporary silent film with live music performance, music which is a fusion of traditional Chinese and modern British, by classical Chinese musician Ling Peng and pianist/guitarist Andy Middleton.
The film tells the tragic tale of three young Chinese rural migrants who come in search of the new life that modern Beijing promises. The tensions created by the pursuit of money and the repression of love lead to moral corruption, betrayal, lies and the ultimate tragedy.
Ling Peng – Erhu (a two-stringed Chinese violin), GuZheng (Chinese zither) and Xun (a wind instrument) – and Andy Middleton – piano and guitar, with supporting electronica – perform live to powerful and haunting effect, tracing the film’s journey through moods of early optimism, internal struggle, violent threat, tragic melancholy and tenuous hope. They sample their live performance, reworking and looping their melodies and adding improvised layers, as the three migrants find themselves morally lost in the in the dark shadows cast by the city lights.
Shot with no budget and a classical cinematic sensibility, the film shows contemporary Beijing as we rarely see it, and tells a tale which resonates universally. The fusion of traditional Chinese and modern British music with electronic live music performance underlines the themes of tradition and modernity within the film, and offers a powerfully moving experience for the audience. This is a film and live music event like no other: A cross-cultural collaboration in film and music that can only be experienced live.