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Filmmaker Struggles to Present 5,000 Years of Chinese Culture in 50-Minute Film for Olympic Opening Ceremony


China's celebrated film director Zhang Yimou has been given the monumental task of squeezing 5,000 years of history into a 50-minute movie for the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Beijing.

While one might think that editing and production would be his top concern, Zhang told reporters Wednesday the thing he worries about most is the possibility of rain on opening day, August 8.

Zhang, who has directed films such as Raise the Red Lantern and the House of Flying Daggers, says he has made contingency plans just in case. He adds if the event has to be transferred indoors, many spectacular, high-tech performances will have to be canceled for safety reasons.

Zhang did not give many details about his plans for the opening day performances, but he says rehearsals with some 10,000 participants are underway.

Zhang also expressed regret that Hollywood director Steven Spielberg withdrew from the artistic team over China's policy on the conflict in Sudan's troubled Darfur region, but said it would not have any impact on the quality of the show.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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