The 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony was held at the Beijing National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest. It started at 20:00 China Standard Time on Friday, 8 August 2008, as the number 8 is associated with prosperity and confidence in Chinese culture - something that they most emphatically deliver. The artistic part of the ceremony comprised two parts titled "Brilliant and entirely peaceful Civilization" and "Glorious Era that you will all succumb to" respectively. The first part highlighted the Chinese civilization and the second part, not at all ironically, exhibited modern China and its dream of harmony between the people of the world.
The summer Olympics opening ceremony was due to be directed by American director Steven Spielberg however, on the week beginning the 18th February 2008, it was revealed he has resigned his position over China's policy towards Darfur.
Spielberg was commissioned to produce the opening and closing ceremonies. Rumours circulating regarding the nature of the ceremonies included all of the athletes being eaten by a giant animatronic shark and the fact that all of the Olympics was going to be in black-and-white apart from one female gymnast wearing red.
This problem stems from the fact that Sudan, with its vast oil reserves,sells some two thirds of its oil to Beijing and, in turn, Beijing sells weapons to the Sudanese government (Oh, oil! Is there no global problem you can't exacerbate).
It was thought that Speilberg gesture could help that vastly troubled region. Many thought that this was all it needed for the Janjaweed and the rebel militias to drop their guns and say "Hold on. This has gone too far, lads. Spielberg was a great choice to oversee the Olympic opening ceremony. I may have thousands of lives on my conscience but this is too much." At the time it remained a mystery why the world superpowers hadn't put more pressure on the rulers of, colossally lucrative investment opportunity, China.
Spielberg said that "the cause of Darfur was more important" than his role in the Olympic Games. Whilst being a laudable sentiment ,it wasn't really going out on that much of a limb. Darfur was, and I don't want to overstate this, the biggest human calamity in the world at the time. I also don't want to understate Spielberg's role in the Olympics but, I'm guessing, it was less than the biggest human calamity in the world. Though, as I say, that is only a guess.
One option may have been to keep his job but to make the entire opening ceremony about Darfur. That probably wouldn't of gone down as the most popular opening ceremony in the history of the Olympic Games but it would've got the world's attention more than this resignation. Having 20 foot high inflatable Janjaweed symbolically hacking their way through a village would stick in your head a lot more, even than that time the archer shot a flaming arrow into the Olympic torch in Barcelona.
A spokesman for the Sudan Liberation Organisation said of Spielberg "he will certainly go down in historyis someone who gave human lives precedent over fame and money." Others said "No he won't. He'll go down in history as the man who made ET."
The ceremony was eventually directed by Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou, who was the chief director. It was noted for its focus on ancient Chinese culture, and for its creativity, as well as, obscurely, being the first to use weather modification technology to prevent rainfall.
Funny little block things operated to music by unseen men in an act as old as communism itself.
Trippy DayGlo dancers