The Colours of China

China’s nature is stunning, impressive, and full of variety: subarctic landscapes can be found as well as tropical regions, snowy mountains, desert and farmland – crossed by mighty rivers. Traditional philosophy and teachings still influence daily life in China today. The philosophy of the cycle of life has played a major role in China for thousands of years, it’s called Wu Xing. According to Wu Xing, there are 5 elements and 5 phases of life, connected with 5 unique colours that have a special meaning. A concept that still influences the daily lives of people in modern China today and has also become enormously popular worldwide.

The 5-part TV provides an understanding for China from a never-before-seen perspective: brilliantly filmed in over 200 shooting days, covering the four different seasons – shot in the megacities as well as in the most remote landscapes. The colours green, red, yellow, white, and black and the theory of the 5 elements guide the cinematic journey through China.


  • - THE COLOURS OF CHINA at Marché du Film in Cannes

    Our German-New Zealand-Chinese co-production THE COLORS OF CHINA will be officially announced during the CHINA CO-PRODUCTION DAY at 12.00 pm [...]

    Our German-New Zealand-Chinese co-production THE COLORS OF CHINA will be officially announced during the CHINA CO-PRODUCTION DAY at 12.00 pm on 19th May at Gray d’Albion Beach, Espace CNC, Cannes. Christian Beetz (CEO at Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion), James Heyward (CEO at Making Movies) will be joined on Skype by Mr. Jing (CEO at CICC) and supervising producer Weina Kong from Beijing. The event is organised by Bridging the Dragon and Marché du Film, Festival de Cannes in partnership with CNC. THE COLORS OF CHINA is a unique journey of discovery through China, guided by the millenniums-old mythology of the colors.

    Bridging the Dragon
    Official film website COLORS OF CHINA

  • - "The Colours of China" Pitch at Asian Side of the Doc

    Producer Christian Beetz is pitching our co-production “The Colours of China” at the Asian Side of the Docs on Thursday, [...]

    Producer Christian Beetz is pitching our co-production "The Colours of China" at the Asian Side of the Docs on Thursday, 20th March 2014. Location: Yi Bin Ballroom Level 2, Plenary Room, Chengdu / China Time: 11am "The Colours of China" is an extraordinary trip through China - structured by the century-old mythology of the colours. According to a Chinese legend, five colours dominate the earth – yellow, cyan, red, white and black. These five colours structure our journey through the world’s most fascinating country. They provide us with a unique access to the geography, culture and, above all, to the lives of the Chinese. Asian Side of the Doc is an international coproduction forum and marketplace for producers, editors, funders, etc.

    Asian Side of the Docs Website

The Colours of China






In China, there are 5 elements – wood, fire, earth, metal, and water – that are considered the basis for everything in the universe. A concept that still influences people’s daily lives today and has become enormously popular around the world. China has known this teaching, which describes the cycle of nature and life, for thousands of years. The 5 elements are connected with compass points, seasons, or phases of life – and with 5 unique colours!

The colour green belongs to the element of wood and is connected with growth and spring. At this time of year, the wild bees begin to swarm in the Shennongjia forest, the famous green Biluochun tea is harvested in the Dongting region, and the Hani people use water buffaloes to cultivate their rice terraces. Red belongs to fire and has a connection to summer and the south. And above all, it is the colour of happiness and joy. The traditional colour of weddings in China is red, and has been for thousands of years.

Yellow belongs to the element earth, it represents the balance of all things and actions that is so important to Chinese thinking. Medicine aims at the balance of the internal organs, cooking is about the balance of tastes. Yellow, the colour of the middle, was reserved exclusively for the emperor for centuries. In the teaching of the 5 elements, Wu Xing, the year is divided into five phases instead of four seasons. Late summer lies between summer and autumn. It’s a moment of perfect balance before growth turns to wither – and it’s associated with the colour yellow.

White belongs to the metal element, it is associated with autumn, the west, and the setting sun. It is also the colour of mourning – cemeteries and tombstones are white in China. But just as light cannot exist without shadow, the colour white is inextricably linked to its opposite, black. This is most evident in Chinese paintings and in the Yin and Yang sign.

The darkness, the night, the life-giving element of water. All of this is associated with the colour black in the ancient teaching of the 5 elements. The corresponding cardinal point is the north, the season connected is winter – a time of stillness and tranquility in which nature gathers strength so that the cycle of life can begin anew.


Written and directed by: Jan Hinrik Drevs
DoP & Co-Field director: Mike Single
Showrunner: Kerstin Meyer-Beetz
Editing: Christian R. Timmann
Research: Marylin McFadyen
Production coordinator: Florian Fettweis
Junior Producer: Lea-Marie Körner, Julia Krampe
Line Producer: Kathrin Isberner, Jill Soper
Postproduction Manager: Xavier Agudo
Executive Producer: Christian Beetz, James Heyward,
Commissioning Editor ZDF/arte: Martin Pieper