A contemporary re-tracing of Marco Polo’s 13th century journey is the first production from the partnership of Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV and global broadcaster Al Jazeera English.
Shot in epic cinematic style by London-based EOS Films and Beijing Energy Media, the three-part series explores the philosophical and historical questions about East and West, then and now, and contemplates the meaning and implications of Marco Polo’s journey.
“I’m very glad we have partnered with Al Jazeera on this ground-breaking series”, comments Phoenix Vice President, Mr. Cui Qiang. “Marco Polo symbolises a desire to understand others, which is emblematic of what both our companies seek to achieve through our films.”
“This is a series with an epic sweep that weaves the past and the present together, giving us a sense of history as a dimension of the here and now”, Giles Trendle, Director of Programs for Al Jazeera English. “It was important for us to partner with Phoenix TV to make this series, a partnership that spans the regions of the Silk Road covered by the famous traveller.”
“To have Al Jazeera broadcast our series globally, especially in many of the countries Marco Polo travelled through, at a time when the present echoes the past with uncanny similarity in so many ways, I feel fortunate”, says renowned author and EOS Films’ Creative Director Sun Shuyun.
‘Another World’, the first of the three films, Marco Polo expert Professor Qiguang Zhao imagines the historical figure’s journey from Venice to the Holy Land, and then north east through present day Iraq and Hormuz of southern Iran, and finally to the home of the Assassins of Alamut.
Airing on the 4 September is the second film in the series, ‘Lost Worlds’. The Professor picks up the journey at the Pamir Mountains on the edge of China, from where Marco Polo follows the Silk Road, down to the forbidding Taklamakan Desert and onto the Mongolian steppe. He makes his way to Xanadu, the heart of Kublai Khan’s power base before reaching ‘Beyond the Cloud,’ the remotest corner of the country.
Airing on 11 September, the final film ‘The New World’ travels through the heartland of China. From Kublai Khan’s new capital Beijing in the 1270s to the rapid development of the city in the 1990s, Beijing represents the power and economic might of China, then and now , but it is the beauty and sophistication of Hangzhou, the City of Heaven, that captures Marco Polo’s heart and soul.