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Film on Palace Museum’s Antiquity Restoration Becomes Surprise Hit

By Han Wei and Liu Shuangshuang
Wang Jin, a craftsman at the Forbidden City, restores a clock which used to belong to Emperor Qianlong. Photo: IC
Wang Jin, a craftsman at the Forbidden City, restores a clock which used to belong to Emperor Qianlong. Photo: IC

Originally published on Dec. 28, 2016

On the same day that veteran director Zhang Yimou released his big-budget historical fantasy The Great Wall, a documentary by a lesser-known filmmaker hit the big screens. Masters in the Forbidden City, which follows the lives of relic restorers in China’s imperial palace who are painstakingly piecing together antiques thousands of years old, made a strong box office showing despite being shot on a shoestring budget of 1.5 million yuan ($216,000).

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