Filmmaker Jia Zhangke chronicles his local literature festival in Shanxi, China which includes a multi-generational roster of the country’s most esteemed writers. Prominent Chinese writers and scholars gather in a village in Shanxi, a province of China and the hometown of Jia Zhang-Ke. This starts an 18-chapter symphony about Chinese society since 1949. Narrated by three important novelists born in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s respectively, telling their own stories with literature and reality, the … Read more
Li Baicheng is a charismatic fortune teller who services a clientele of prostitutes and marginalized figures whose jobs, like his, are commonplace but technically illegal in China. He practices his ancient craft in a village near Beijing while taking care of his deaf and dumb wife Pearl, who he rescued from her family’s mistreatment. Winter brings a police crackdown on both fortune tellers and prostitutes, forcing Li and Pearl into temporary exile in his hometown, … Read more
The “Great Sichuan Earthquake” took place at 14:28 on May 12, 2008. In the days after, ordinary people salvage destroyed pig farms in the mountains, collect cheap scrapped metals, or pillaging other victims’ homes. Behind the media circus of official visits is an inconsolable grief of families searching for loved ones. As the Lunar New Year approaches, vagabonds and family tell of the ill-handling of rebuilding schemes and misuse relief funds. As they prepare for … Read more
The character of this story lives far from the worlds of the material and the spirit. He has built his own subsistence conditions. He often goes to the neighboring villages, although he doesn’t communicate with other people. He collects some waste but doesn’t beg. He prowls about the ruins of deserted villages, as an animal or as a ghost. Under double political and economical pressure, most of people are depriving of their last dignity into … Read more
In the summer of 1920, Shanghai was scandalized by a sensational murder, a high-profile case and subsequent trial that was the ongoing topic of conversation in the city’s numerous cafes, clubs and teahouses. Among the various reasons for its notoriety, two stand out: first, the victim was a high-class prostitute, well known in Shanghai; second, the murderer had been a mid-level manager in a respected foreign firm, a playboy who in Manhattan might have been … Read more
MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES is the striking new documentary on the world and work of renowned artist Edward Burtynsky. Internationally acclaimed for his large-scale photographs of “manufactured landscapes”—quarries, recycling yards, factories, mines and dams—Burtynsky creates stunningly beautiful art from civilization’s materials and debris.
In 1994, the oil-rich city of Karamay in Northwest China was the site of a horrible fire that killed nearly 300 schoolchildren. The students were performing for state officials and were told to stand by while the officials exited first. After the fire, the story was heavily censored in the Chinese state media. To this day, the families of Karamay have not been allowed to publicly mourn their children.
China is the first country in the world to classify Internet addiction as a clinical disorder. Caught in the Net features a Beijing treatment center where Chinese teenagers are being “deprogrammed,” and follows the story of three boys from the day they arrive at the center, to their three-month treatment period, and their long awaited return home. The film provides a microcosm of modern Chinese life and investigates one of the symptoms of the Internet … Read more
ON JUNE 4th 1989, CHINA WAS CHANGED FOREVER. Beijing, May, 1989. the world watched as a hundred students became a thousand, as thousands became a million – and a nation starved of freedom, cried out for a taste of democracy. In this compelling film, director Michael Apted (Nell, Gorillas in the Mist), captures the power and passion of the Tiananmen Square uprising through a unique combination of newsreel footage, dramatic re-enactments and extensive input from … Read more
On May 12, 2008, a catastrophic earthquake hit Sichuan Province in rural China, killing nearly 70,000 people, including 10,000 children. In town after town, poorly constructed school buildings crumbled, wiping out classrooms filled with students, most of them their parents’ only child. But when grieving mothers and fathers sought explanations and justice, they found their path blocked by incompetence, corruption and empty promises.
The dysfunctional Chinese justice system allows citizens with grievances against their local governments to petition the court to clear or correct their record. Yet in order to do so, the petitioners must travel to Beijing to file paperwork and wait an indefinite period to plead their case. Following the saga of a group of petitioners over the years of 1996 and 2008, Petition unfolds like a novel by Zola or Dickens. This was filmed surreptitiously … Read more
Railroad of Hope consists of interviews and footage collected over three days by Ning Ying of migrant agricultural workers traveling from Sichuan in China’s interior, to the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, China’s northwest frontier. Through informal interviews aboard the cramped rail cars, Ning Ying explores the hopes and dreams of the workers, many of whom have never left their homes before.
An autobiography about the director’s life, career and ultimate disillusionment with The People’s Republic of China. Shui-Bo Wang’s feature documentary is a visual autobiography of an artist who grew up in China during the historic upheavals of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. A rich collage of original artwork and family and archival photographs presents a personal perspective on the turbulent Cultural Revolution and the years that followed. For Shui-Bo Wang and others of his generation, … Read more
Filmed between 1999 and 2001, WEST OF THE TRACKS details the gradual decline of Shenyang’s industrial Tiexi district, an area that was once a vibrant example of China’s socialist economy. But industry is changing, and the factories of Tiexi are closing. Director Wang Bing introduces us to some of the workers affected by the closures, and to their families. With a total runtime of more than nine hours, the film comprises three parts: “Rust”, “Remnants”, … Read more
The film Morning Sun attempts in the space of a two-hour documentary film to create an inner history of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (c.1964-1976). It provides a multi-perspective view of a tumultuous period as seen through the eyes—and reflected in the hearts and minds—of members of the high-school generation that was born around the time of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, and that came of age in the 1960s. … Read more
Observations of three varied corners of China’s garment industry: workers in a large-scale production line factory; a designer who rallies against the mass-machine-production of clothes and has created the eponymous hand-made collection called ‘Useless’ (Wuyong) for Paris Fashion Week; and finally the simple life of increasingly out-of-work tailors in small town Fengdang.
The Gate of Heavenly Peace is a feature-length documentary about the 1989 protest movement, reflecting the drama, tension, humor, absurdity, heroism, and many tragedies of the six weeks from April to June in 1989. The film reveals how the hard-liners within the government marginalized moderates among the protesters (including students, workers and intellectuals), while the actions of radical protesters undermined moderates in the government. Moderate voices were gradually cowed and then silenced by extremism and … Read more
Under the sun, the heavenly beauty of grasslands will soon be covered by the raging dust of mines. Facing the ashes and noises caused by heavy mining , the herdsmen have no choice but to leave as the meadow areas dwindle. In the moonlight, iron mines are brightly lit throughout the night. Workers who operate the drilling machines must stay awake. The fight is tortuous, against the machine and against themselves. Meanwhile, coal miners are … Read more
Poetry is the last secret of an era. A special group existing lively in the China-worker poet, and it is the first show they assemble in front of camera with the poems they have written hold in their hands. They are talking about the stories that covered behind ‘ Chinese Miracle’ and ‘Made in China’ to not just national people also the worldwide.
France’s Bordeaux region has long commanded respect for its coveted wine, but shifts in the global marketplace mean that a new, voracious consumer base in China is buying up this finite product. Bordeaux both struggles with and courts the spike in demand, sending prices skyrocketing. Narrated by Russell Crowe, Red Obsession is a fascinating look at our changing international economy and how an obsession in Shanghai affects the most illustrious vineyards in France.
In a quiet village in southern China, Fang Xiuying is sixty-seven years old. Having suffered from Alzheimer’s for several years, with advanced symptoms and ineffective treatment, she was sent back home. Now, bedridden, she is surrounded by her relatives and neighbors, as they witness and accompany her through her last days.
The danger is palpable as intrepid young filmmaker Nanfu Wang follows maverick activist Ye Haiyan (a.k.a Hooligan Sparrow) and her band of colleagues to Hainan Province in southern China to protest the case of six elementary school girls who were sexually abused by their principal. Marked as enemies of the state, the activists are under constant government surveillance and face interrogation, harassment, and imprisonment. Sparrow, who gained notoriety with her advocacy work for sex workers’ … Read more
Once the thriving capital of Imperial China, the city of Datong now lies in near ruins. Not only is it the most polluted city in the country, it is also crippled by decrepit infrastructure and even shakier economic prospects. But Mayor Geng Tanbo plans to change all that, announcing a bold, new plan to return Datong to its former glory, the cultural haven it was some 1,600 years ago. Such declarations, however, come at a … Read more
Wahun is a city in China the size of London where an experiment in democracy is conducted. At Evergreen Primary School, a grade 3 class learns what democracy is when an election for class monitor is being held. Three children are chosen by the teacher as candidates and they have a few days to campaign and convince their classmates to vote for them. The little candidates are seen at school and at home, where their … Read more