Matt Sheehan dreamed this up on a Beijing bus. I applaud his ability to see the beauty in a place that, as far as Westerners are aware, has a visibility distance of about one foot on an average smoggy day. I never dreamed summer in Beijing could be so lovely, so charming, so epic.
With the help of George Gershwin‘s Rhapsody in Blue, a run-away imagination, and a need to mentally survive in a city with a colossal population and equally colossal number of problems, Sheehan has created a movie mosaic of daily life that really makes the people of Beijing shine.
As Sheehan put it so eloquently: “Am I romanticizing it all? Yep. Is that way more fun than demonizing the place and the people around you? Oh hellz yes.
“When I paired this people-watching with George Gershwin’s masterpiece, the stories around me took on that epic resonance only possible in the echo chamber of one’s own head. It’s a city of grinders, true believers, and people who just don’t [care] about anything except where their next donkey sandwich is coming from. And yet somehow, when you throw it all together and cloak it in jazzy trumpet and yearning violin, you get something utterly engrossing and beautiful.
“Rhapsody in Beijing” showed me a reflection of Beijinger’s souls, and the simple yet complex shared nature of humanity.
Or perhaps Sheehan has a girlfriend he’s trying to convince to move to Beijing with him.
Watch and enjoy, and let us know what you think in the comments.