Jill Li | 2019 | Hong Kong | 180’ | digital
In this epic work of observational, investigative filmmaking, first-time documentarian Jill Li embedded herself in the village of Wukan, southern China for several years to document an unprecedented experiment in local democracy. When Wukan residents uncover the illegal sale of communal land by local administrators, they begin an exhaustive and impassioned grassroots campaign to reverse the land sales and remove the corrupt officials from office, eventually gaining control over their local territory. However, their idealism and faith in the collective begins to fade as the newly elected village government finds itself mired in the same kind of corrupt dealings they had originally condemned. With extraordinary access, Jill Li intimately and compassionately observes an ensemble cast of characters as they struggle to maintain their course against the pervasive influence of corruption.
With an introduction by Chris Berry
Chris Berry is Professor of Film Studies at King’s College London. In the 1980s, he worked for China Film Import and Export Corporation in Beijing, and his academic research is grounded in work on Chinese-language cinemas and other Chinese-language screen-based media, as well as work from neighbouring countries.Books written and edited include: Cinema and the National: China on Screen; Postsocialist Cinema in Post-Mao China: the Cultural Revolution after the Cultural Revolution; Chinese Film Festivals: Sites of Translation; Routledge Handbook of East Asian Popular Culture; Public Space, Media Space; The New Chinese Documentary Film Movement: For the Public Record;Electronic Elsewheres: Media, Technology, and Social Space; Cultural Studies and Cultural Industries in Northeast Asia: What a Difference a Region Makes; TV China; Chinese Films in Focus II; and Island on the Edge: Taiwan New Cinema and After.