Balance of the Five Elements

  • docedge
  • Filmfest MUC

A cinematic journey through all seasons and climate zones of China
on the traces of the millennia-old system Wu Xing.




90 min


Jan Hinrik Drevs



Everything in the universe is in a state of continuous change. There is neither a beginning nor an ending. This is the basis of the ancient Chinese teaching of Wu Xing, the “circle of change”. This holistic philosophy, closely linked to Daoism, is thousands of years old, but is still present in contemporary China. And not only there. Wu Xing, also called 5 elements or phases, has become immensely popular outside of China, too. But what is it’s real core? How and where can it still be found in China today? German director Jan Hinrik Drevs and New Zealand DOP Mike Single have embarked on an extensive journey through China – looking for traces of this millennia old system. A cinematic journey with 200 shooting days, spread over 15 months, covering all seasons and climate zones, from the vastness and heat of the desert to the long icy nights of the far north. From remote rural villages to the populous Megacities. A journey, where the film team observes, listens and searches for an understanding. In this way a film has come up that essentially contributes to the understanding of Chinese culture, philosophy and society and promotes the utmost important dialogue between China and the West.

Jan Hinrik Drevs

Camera and co-director
Mike Single

Christian R. Timmann, Katharina Fiedler

Joel Haines

Wu Yanbo

Marilyn McFadyen

Kerstin Meyer-Beetz

Producer China
Kong Weina, Guo Yeqi

Executive Producer
Christian Beetz, James Heyward

Produced by gebrueder beetz filmproduction and Making Movies
In co-production with CICC and ZDF
In collaboration with ARTE

Balance of the Five Elements
  • „Just in diesem Moment überraschen uns die aus dem Theaterbereich stammenden jungen Regisseure Hans Block und Moritz Riesewieck mit einem erstaunlichen Dokumentarfilm, der seit Monaten Publikum und Kritik auf den wichtigsten Festivals der Welt elektrisiert. Völlig zu Recht: Es ist, als würden einem die Scheuklappen weggerissen, als sähe man das, was sich seit Jahren direkt vor unseren Augen abspielt, zum ersten Mal unverschleiert... eine fesselnde ,Doku noir' mit höchstem Anspruch...Dieser Film müsste an allen Schulen gezeigt werden.“
    Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

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