THE LEAP (2001)

Press here to watch the whole film (length 15 minutes).
Music-Art Film
Based on the composition of the Chinese-French composer Chen Qigang. Length 15 min, China, the Netherlands, no dialogue. De Sprong (The Leap) was distributed by Het Filmmuseum (now EYE Film Institute) together with Millenium Mambo from the Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao Hsien.

De Sprong ( The Leap)
by Sylvia Stoetzer and Mirjam van Veelen is a unique collaboration between different forms of expression: visual art, (live) music, film, and traditional Chinese art. In November of 2001 the film was premiered at the Stedelijk Museum, accompanied by a live performance of Chen Qigang’s composition Poeme Lyrique II by the Nieuw Ensemble with baritone Shi Kelong.


Tradition and Transformation
In this film the film-makers advance the concept of “tradition and transformation” that they find in Poème Lyrique II, a work by the Chinese-French composer Chen Qigang. In this contemporary piece, the composer sets to music a classical Chinese poem dating from 1076, and employs vocal techniques from Peking Opera.
Starting from their theme of tradition and transformation, Stoetzer and van Veelen establish visual and dramatic links between traditional Chinese and twentieth-century western art. For example, they cross Kunqu Opera with landscape art from the Sung dynasty as well as with symbolism from the French painter Watteau.


The Leap was made with financial support of:
• Netherlands FilmFund
• Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst
• ThuisKopie Fonds
• Mama Cash
• Materiaal Fonds voor de Beeldende Kunsten

The principal character in the film is a poet who, entangled in feelings of loneliness caused by a love triangle, creates his own surreal world. His state of mind is portrayed as a house containing several rooms, each room having its own meaning and atmosphere. After much confusion and struggle, the poet loses his grip and jumps out of this bizarre world. After this point the film continues, but it is unclear whether the world of the poet existed or not. In constructing the poet’s surreal world, the directors make use of compositing techniques; the characters are first filmed against a blue screen, and later situated within a collage of digital “rooms.” This principle is abandoned in the last episode of the film, in which the poet literally ends up in a more realistic world. ( No one can find perfection… ) Su Shi 1076.


Stoetzer and van Veelen traveled to China in order to shoot several Peking en Kunqu Opera scenes for their film. In De Sprong these traditional Chinese opera forms, usually left unchanged by their practitioners, are given a new impulse. Existing character roles in these forms are mixed by the directors with contemporary drama and visual art. By putting together character roles from different traditional stories, they give new meaning to these roles. To achieve their goal of creating a new lyrical language, the directors attempt to strike a balance between stylized emotions such as is found in Peking and Kunqu Opera and more individualistic forms of expression.


Credits film
Paul Nam Sin Rigter, Giam Kwee, Peter Kho Sien Kie, Mario Yip, King Yip cast Peking & Kunqu Opera – Wang Zhenyi, Tan Xiaoling, Tang Shu, Yang Fan
Co-director Peking & Kunqu OperaFang Tong
Benito Strangio (Netherlands) Liu Hua Yi (China)
Marc Bechtold
Rafaël Croonen, RAV ANimated VisualsMattes & rotoscoping
Harry Creemers & Oskar van den Belt
Jac Ghijssels
Set Building Art Department
Costume designer
Anita Evenepoel
Costume stylist
Oksana Malevanik
Zhou le Sheng
Frank van der Weij & Fokke van Saane
Choreography advisor
Peter Kho Sien Kie
Sylvia Stoetzer & Mirjam van Veelen
Sylvia Stoetzer
Art director
Mirjam van Veelen.

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