Apple’s 2023 Chinese New Year Short: Through the Five Passes

Every year, Apple releases a short film for Chinese New Year that is shot on an iPhone, and every year I look forward to the story that is created. This short for this 2023 is called Through the Five Passes.  Apple’s description:

Welcome the Year of the Rabbit with a story about a young man, his love for opera, and the spirit of persistence. Apple and director Peng Fei come together to reinvent the renowned Chinese Opera “Through the Five Passes”.

Not being Chinese, it took some research to get to understand the context of this short.  The story of Guan Yu and the Five Passes, a story in the history novel, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, is a symbol of persistence, and is also represented in Chinese Opera. Despite not knowing all of the context initially, I did find the imagery striking, and particularly amazing considering it was all shot on an iPhone. I also was reminded about one of the few movies that I have seen (and loved) with Chinese Opera as a key part, Rouge.

Past Apple Lunar New Year Shorts that we have talked about include  The ComebackNian, and Daughter. As every year, Apple also includes a “Making of” video which shows how all of the filming was done on an iPhone, this year on an iPhone 14 Pro.

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About Jeff

Jeff lives in Silicon Valley, and attempts to juggle marriage, fatherhood, computer systems research, running, and writing.
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