If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this video must be worth a million. Follow expat Giulia Cibotti through an incredible montage that captures “The Beijing Pace.” With a Calvin Harris soundtrack & definitive urban style, you’ll want to join the madness…that is, if you can keep up.
Capturing an experience has never been easy, even in the era of cell phone cameras & quick blogging. Capturing a rhythm and a lifestyle? Forget it. That is, unless you’re Giulia Cibotti. A former student of Mandarin Chinese at Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University, Giulia used her six month stint as an expat to create a vibrant montage that captures the feel of a city that’s always changing. How the video came to be? Like many great works of art, it was partially an accident:
‘The Beijing Pace’ was created simply by putting together several random videos I accumulated during my stay. It’s funny how the whole process started. You know how it happens sometimes – you’re taking a picture and right after pressing the button you realize your camera is on taping mode, so you end up recording a one-second video of a street view or your posing friends…’Ooops, it’s a video!’ At the end of the day I kept finding myself with a bunch of failed photography attempts that started to look more and more like interesting -albeit extremely brief- filming fragments. I decided I had to keep taking videos and make something out of them.
In a country so misunderstood by the rest of the world, Giulia had both the desire and talent to capture its essence for the people she loves — particularly those who have taken the time to understand and thrive in Beijing alongside her.
Beijing is a constant source of natural inspiration for anyone sensitive enough to perceive its energy. The blinding lights, the miscellaneous people, the hidden venues and unexpected sights, but also the hyperfast moving pace, the giant overwhelming crowds and the unceasing various noises that make you crave for silence. Besides, it soon occured to me how lucky I was to be there, living such a thrilling experience and sharing it with all the beautiful people I met every day. I felt the urge to leave a trace, some sort of record of all those precious moments. I heard an inner voice telling me: “Don’t just let it go, document it.”
We’re so happy that she listened. As for the bumping Calvin Harris soundtrack that brings the natural beat of her former home to life?
‘Feel So Close’ by Calvin Harris immediately struck me as befitting. I chose a remix version in order to make the video slightly longer. Some may argue the track’s most roaring parts makes your head ache – and I personally agree – but so does Beijing. So the song fit well.
When asked about her greatest surprise upon entering Beijing life, she offered a particularly striking reflection. The beauty lies not only in the fact that it’s a testament to her openness as a traveler, but also her ability to capture these fascinations in the video. Viewing the montage for the first time, we found ourselves struck by the two things Giulia found most thrilling about Beijing — the crowds and omnipresent shimmering lights:
I purposely didn’t let myself have any big expectations about China. I made the decision to take everything as it was, without prejudice nor idealization. As a result, China appeared as a high-speed carousel of surprises to my foreign eyes. The greatest of them being, in terms of actual dimension, the Chinese crowd…when I arrived I was also absolutely fascinated by the omni-present shimmering lights. From the traditional red lanterns to the modern flashy neons, it’s almost impossible to find an un-lit street anywhere in China. Shanghai, Beijing, Xi’An…Chinese cities never sleep.
…with so much to dream of now, neither will we.
Video & feature photo courtesy of Giulia Cibotti. All rights reserved. Have you captured your expat lifestyle in a creative way? Send us your feature here and we’ll showcase the best of the best.