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Family, Gender, and Population in China

Family, Gender, and Population in China


Hundred thousand of urban youth in Shanghai were sent to Xinjiang in 1960s, in order to construct the infrastructure. Some of them were sent there unwillingly. They have sacrificed better living conditions in urban city, their career and future and led a miserable life in Xinjiang. After fifty years, some of the urban youth went back to their homeland Shanghai in their seventies. They are still living in unstable conditions even though they have been staying in the most prosperous city.

DVD (With English Subtitles) / 2018 / 30 minutes

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By Yang Mingming

Rising Chinese director Yang Mingming both directs and stars in GIRLS ALWAYS HAPPY - a mother-daughter story that goes for the jugular.

Wu (Yang Mingming) and her mother (Nai An) live in a Beijing hutong - an old community of cramped alleyways where everyone knows your business and houses are so close together you can smell when neighbors start using a new cooking oil.

It's not just the neighborhood that's claustrophobic. At the heart of GIRLS ALWAYS HAPPY is the relationship between Wu, an aspiring screenwriter in her 20s, and her bitter, superstitious mother, who has recently turned to writing as well. The tension between the pair is raw, honest, mean, and sometimes funny - with no blow too low and no memory too painful to poke at. But their relationship has its moments of intimacy and tenderness too, especially over meals in their leaky, jam-packed home.

As Wu and her mother bicker, they also worry about money and carry on their own misadventures in love. Wu dates and then dumps an older film professor (Zhang Xianmin, playing himself), while her mother cynically cares for Wu's grandfather, hoping the women will be written into his will.

GIRLS ALWAYS HAPPY is a more conventional narrative film than Yang Mingming's earlier work. But it is no less remarkable - marked by the keen eye for visual detail, and unique sense of humor and irony she previously showed in her genre-bending film FEMALE DIRECTORS. Particularly striking are the shots of Wu on her scooter - bright, carefully composed sequences that follow her through the alleyways of the hutong and the broad boulevards of Beijing.

Emotionally intense and sometimes jarring, GIRLS ALWAYS HAPPY is a film about fraught relationships, life in contemporary Beijing, and the challenge of finding your way forward while tied down by the past.

DVD (Mandarin With English Subtitles, Color) / 2018 / 116 minutes

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2016.1.1 marks the end of China's one-child policy, allowing all couples to give birth for second kid since draconian family planning rules were introduced more than 30 years ago.

The policy is said to be an elixir for the aging community in China, albeit previous fine-tuning policy such as "selective two-child policy" fails to encourage couple to have two kids.

While kids that are born in and after 2016 are "contributors" to the aging problems in China, kids that were born before were called the "invisible men" simple because their parents.

As seen through the eyes of the second kid without identity, this documentary further examines the pains and problems left as a result of the one child policy and the greater meaning it holds about the essence of birth control.

DVD (With English Subtitles) / 2016 / 25 minutes

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By Sophia Luvara

In a nondescript lounge somewhere in Shanghai, men and women giggle, eyeing prospective partners, visibly nervous about making the first move. This isn't your average matchmaking event-it's a "fake-marriage fair," where gay men and women meet to make matrimonial deals with members of the opposite sex in order to satisfy social and familial expectations of heterosexual unions. Inside the Chinese Closet is the intricate tale of Andy and Cherry looking for love and happiness in vibrant Shanghai. They are both homosexual but their families demand a (heterosexual) marriage and a baby from them. Because being single and childless would mean an unacceptable loss of face for their rural families, particularly in the remote countryside where they live. Will Andy and Cherry deny their happiness and sexual orientation to satisfy their parents' wishes? The stories of Andy and Cherry mirror the legal and cultural progress that is happening in China against the backdrop of a nation coming to terms with new moral values.

DVD (Color) / 2016 / 70 minutes

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The one-child policy, a part of China's family planning policy, was a population planning policy of installed by the Chinese government. It was introduced in 1979 and began to be formally phased out in 2015

"Only Me Generation" is a documentary that explores the effects of the China's "One Child Policy" from the perspective of the policy's first generation point of view.

Almost 30 years ago, the Chinese government first introduced the "one child policy" to alleviate social, economic and environmental problems. Three decades later, they are now looking at a relaxation of the policy. The result is that the babies born under the current policy are a unique population set with issues and challenges that are different from those of other Chinese generations; most notably that they grew up as "only children".

This film provides a unique look into a unprecedented government policy that changed the rules of a society, impacted far more than a generation, and can now be studied on a variety of fronts. The film raises numerous questions and serves as a wonderful launching point for discussion and debate.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of "only children" in a generation of only "only children"?

What are the pressures that these children, the results of the policy, have lived under?

How have parental expectations changes due to family limits on the number of children permitted?

What are their social experiences now that these Only Me Generation children are now adults?

What are the ramifications, if any, of relaxing the policy now after so many years?

DVD (Color) / 2016 / 58 minutes

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"Tongqi" is a Chinese language neologism for women who have married gay men. To continue the family bloodline is one of the most important values to a traditional Chinese family. Most gay men will choose to marry a woman as requested by parents.

According to Professor Zhang Bei-Chuan, there are around 14 million "Tongqi" in China. Most of them have no idea about the homosexual identity of their partners until their first child was born. Some of them will even not be informed until the end of their life.

Teresa from Wuhan was once a "Tongqi". Her husband came out to her two months after their wedding. In this documentary, Teresa shares her experience of being a "Tongqi" and how it changed her life. Fortunately, her "Tongqi" experience does not ruin her life. In contrary, she chooses to dedicate her life to help other "Tongqi" to walk out of darkness.

"Tongqi is living beneath a roof of ice," said by Professor Zhang Bei-Chuan. Nearly none of them is willing to share their story to public openly. However, Teresa is determined to do so, with the hope that she can be the last "Tongqi" in history.

This year's Lantern Festival in Quanzhou, Teresa, dressed in a pink cheongsam, walking on the street to promote "Tongqi" to thousands of public. Feedback from the crowd is diverse. Some clapped to encourage, while some yelled to fight back. All of the above is the story of Teresa, one of the 14 million "Tongqi" in China.

DVD (With English Subtitles) / 2015 / 30 minutes

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  • China's urban migration
  • Modern China
  • China's industrial revolution

  • Chinese development has depended on a vast influx of 250 million migrant workers into the cities - some have prospered but most are poorly paid and housed, with few rights. Mass protests mean the government can no longer take them for granted.

    THE TRAINEE CHEF'S STORY Li Xu Bin is a migrant worker like millions of others, on low pay and with little job security, living with his wife in a single room in Beijing's suburbs. They have left their child behind, the cause of much heartache.

    THE FRUIT VENDORS Like Li Xu Bin, Mr and Mrs Zhang have moved to the city to earn money to pay for their children's education. The rules say their children must stay behind. Meanwhile they have to work all hours to make ends meet. Says Mrs Zhang: "We never have a single day off."

    DVD / 2014 / 21 minutes

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  • Women In China
  • Education In China
  • Universities In China
  • China's "One-Child" Policy

  • The communist revolution gave women theoretical equality, but centuries-old oppressions still persist. Women have suffered through the "one child" policy. But women are now among China's top entrepreneurs.

    "ONE CHILD" POLICY China's coercive policy of forbidding more than one child has had a cruel effect on China's women. The policy is now being relaxed - but some women are happy with one child.

    SUICIDE WATCH China is the only country where the suicide rate is higher among women than men - experts say this may be down to the low status of rural women. Can education help?

    "EDUCATION COMES FIRST" Language professor Wu Quing runs a vocational school for young rural women. "It's a man's world - but change rural women and you will change China."

    "THE STUDIES ARE DEMANDING" Architectural student Ghuan Zhaoyu is one of China's growing university population. She wants to study abroad but, as an only child, she has to think of her parents.

    DVD / 2014 / 26 minutes

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    By Marlo Poras

    A tale of two sisters living in the shadow of two Chinas, this documentary by award-winning filmmaker Marlo Poras (Mai's America; Run Grany Run) follows Juma and Latso, young women from one of the world's last remaining matriarchal societies. Thrust into the worldwide economic downturn after losing jobs in Beijing and left with few options, they return to their remote Himalayan village. But growing exposure to modernity has irreparably altered traditions of the Mosuo, their tiny ethnic miniority, and home is not the same. Determined to keep their family out of poverty, one sister sacrifices her educational dreams and stays home to farm, while the other leaves, trying her luck in the city. The changes test them in unexpected ways. This visually stunning film highlights today's realities of women's lives and China's vast cultural and economic divides while offering rare views of a surviving matriarchy.

    DVD (Mandarin/Mosuo/Tibetan, Color) / 2013 / 80 minutes

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    By XU Huijing

    Mothers is a gripping cinema verite documentary that shows how China's one-child policy plays out in the daily lives of women in a northern Chinese village.

    There are not a lot of job prospects in Ma, a community of 2,000 in Shanxi Province. Factories have closed, young people are leaving, and declining numbers are more of a problem than over-population. Still, town officials must strictly enforce the one-child policy. In the case of Ma, this means meeting an annual quota for the sterilization of women who have had more than one child.

    At the heart of the documentary lies a high stakes cat-and-mouse game. On one side are the male deputy mayor Zhang Guo-hong and the female local director of women's care, Zhang Qing-mei, On the other: a schoolteacher named Rong Rong who is a mother of two - and who has managed so far to avoid sterilization. Now - faced with the prospect of failing to meet their quota - Qing-mei and Guo-hong are determined to make sure Rong Rong doesn't outwit them again. They appear at her house early in the morning, try to track her down through her relatives (including a grandmother who emphatically berates Guo-hong), and hold out a carrot in the form of the residency papers she will need for her second child.

    Meanwhile, Qing-mei also travels through town on her red scooter, spreading the gospel of family planning at rallies and celebrations, and trying to exhort as many women as possible to submit to sterilization.

    Without resorting to voice-over, Mothers offers a powerful feminist perspective, as we watch men developing and enforcing reproductive policies for women. Here, women's bodies are not an ideological battleground, but the epicenter of the conflict over the most banal of undertakings: meeting a quota. Eventually, even Guo-hong admits to the camera, "We're just scared of losing our jobs. Do you think I am really committed to this?"

    DVD / 2013 / 68 minutes

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    It can be argued that China's newfound affluence is made possible not by bold entrepreneurs but by disadvantaged migrant workers, millions of whom have left the rural villages in which they were born to seek better lives in cities. This film takes viewers inside that globally significant megatrend with stories of Chinese migrants and their challenges. Li Xu Bin and his wife Dai barely get by on temp jobs in the Beijing suburb of Dong Xin Dian. But in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou province, a young woman named Tian Qiuyu has rejected work for hire and founded her own PR firm. And at Tongji University in Shanghai, budding architect Guan Zhaoyu makes the most of the education her parents never had. Expert commentary comes from Fudan University professor Zhou Dunren, who talks about the importance of understanding the difficulties that migrant workers face in China today and how their outlook compares with those of previous generations.

    DVD (Portions with English subtitles) / 2012 / 29 minutes

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    Mao's aphorism about the strength and ability of women may have helped to do away with foot-binding, child marriage, and other archaic traditions, but in 21st-century China gender equality is as illusory as ever. This film examines the challenges that Chinese women face, especially the obstacles to prosperity and security that the country's poor, rural women know all too well. Viewers meet Yu Xinpei, who migrated to Shangai from a remote southern village. At first apprenticed to a hairdresser, she's now starting a salon of her own. Meanwhile, sociologist Liu Bohong talks about the difficulties women encounter when they move to cities-although those who stay in the provinces "have it harder." Many become suicide statistics, which is why physician Xu Rong has founded a support group for wives and daughters who are struggling with rural life. On the other hand, the film also points out that 11 of the world's richest women are Chinese!

    DVD (Portions with English subtitles) / 2012 / 29 minutes

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    By Huang Ji

    Huang Ji's brave personal film is one of the most auspicious debuts in recent Chinese cinema. Set in her home village in rural Hunan province, EGG AND STONE is a powerful autobiographical portrait of a 14-year-old girl's attempts to come to terms with her emerging sexual maturity. Since her parents moved to the city to work, she has been forced to live with her uncle and aunt for seven years. Alone with her own inchoate fears and desires, she grapples with a terrifying world of sexual awakening and danger. Huang Ji's visual sophistication, narrative fluency, and technical polish belie her youth. Cinematographer Ryuji Otsuka (also the film's producer and editor) contributes beautifully crafted cinematic images, fearfully intimate, softly pulsing with light, saturated with complex emotional power.

    DVD (Color, Hunan with English Subtitles) / 2012 / 98 minutes

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    By Wang Bing

    One of his generation's most important documentary filmmakers, director Wang Bing is at the height of his powers in THREE SISTERS. The film introduces viewers to 10-year-old YingYing, 6-year-old Zhenzhen and 4-year-old Fenfen, who live alone in Xiyangtang, a tiny rural village in the high mountains of China's Yunnan province. Their father is away working in the city; their mother left the family long ago.

    The girls help their grandfather or aunt in exchange for meals. They spend their days at grueling tasks: herding sheep, goats and pigs, searching for firewood, collecting dung. Games are few and far between. The eldest, Yingying, is her sisters' primary caretaker, shouldering responsibilities far beyond her years.

    Wang's hand-held footage beautifully captures the region's dramatic landscapes and plunging, mountainous scenery in THREE SISTERS, an essential part of the international film canon.

    DVD (Color, Mandarin and Yunnan dialect with English Subtitles) / 2012 / 153 minutes

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    By JI Dan

    On the outskirts of Beijing, two teenage girls from a migrant family struggle to earn the money to pay for their brother's schooling with little help from their troubled and eccentric parents.

    Growing up in a rickety hut on a garbage-filled lot, Xia, Ling, and Gang recognize that a good education is their only possible ticket to a better life. Their older sister, who left school to begin working, has disappeared, likely kidnapped and sold into prostitution.

    As migrants, they are prevented by China's hukou (residence permit) system from attending a free public school, and when the school that had provided them with scholarships closes, they are forced to look for new options. With very little money to their name, they place all their hopes in Gang, the older brother.

    Their complicated home life doesn't make things any easier. Their alcoholic father and their mother are frequently at one another's throats, and do not seem to understand the gravity of their children's situation.

    Director Ji Dan, one of China's preeminent female filmmakers, first met Xia, Ling, and Gang in 2004, while making a film about education in China, This intimate, patient portrait grew out of their close relationship over many years.

    WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS at once explores the particular dynamics of one family and exposes the widespread difficulties faced by migrants living at the margins of Chinese society.

    DVD (Color) / 2012 / 144 minutes

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    11 FLOWERS

    Director: Wang Xiaoshuai

    One of China's foremost Sixth Generation directors, Wang Xiaoshuai (Beijing Bicycle, Shanghai Dreams) tells a striking, autobiographical coming-of-age tale set in the final days of China's Cultural Revolution in his new film 11 Flowers.

    Eleven-year-old Wang Han lives with his family in a remote village in Guizhou province. Life is tough, but they make the most of what little they have. When Wang is selected to lead his school through their daily gymnastic regimen, his teacher recommends that he wear a clean, new shirt in honor of this important position a request that forces his family to make a great sacrifice. But one afternoon, soon after Wang is given the precious shirt, he encounters a desperate, wounded man, who takes it from him. The man is on the run, wanted by the authorities for murder. In no time the fates of Wang and the fugitive are intertwined.

    Beautifully performed by a troupe of child actors, and vividly creating a sense of time and place, 11 Flowers is a delicate and moving film about growing up in a time of great upheaval.

    DVD (Mandarin, Shanghainese with English Subtitles) / 2011 / 115 minutes

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    By PEMA Tseden

    A family on the Himalayan plains discovers their dog is worth a fortune, but selling it comes at a terrible price.

    The Tibetan nomad mastiff is an exotic prize dog in China, fetching as much as millions of dollars from wealthy Chinese. When a young man notices several thefts of mastiffs from Tibetan farm families, he decides to sell his family's dog before it is stolen and sold on the black market. His father, an aging Tibetan herder, is furious when he discovers their dog missing. When the father seeks to buy the dog back, it leads to a series of tragicomic events that threaten to tear the family apart, while showing the erosion of Tibetan culture under the pressures of contemporary society.

    Pema Tseden (THE SILENT HOLY STORIES, THE SEARCH) is the leading filmmaker of a newly emerging Tibetan cinema and the first director in China to film his movies entirely in the Tibetan language. His third feature OLD DOG is both a humorous and tragic allegory and a sober depiction of life among the impoverished rural Tibetan community.

    DVD (Tibetan with English Subtitles, Color) / 2011 / 88 minutes

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    China's economic growth in the last ten years has been the envy of the rest of the world. For China itself the benefits have brought both prosperity and social and personal disruption to many sectors of society. Through dramatic and personal stories, this unique six-part series depicts life in China today and how the economic advances of the past decade have impacted on young and old alike.

    Filmed by some of China's most talented documentary makers in conjunction with award winning Australian filmmaker, Peter du Cane, this intriguing series is set against the backdrop of an ever changing society. It captures situations, characters and locations that would be impossible for western filmmakers to obtain. China from Within tells the stories of China today.

    Ep 1 - Migration
    This episode charts the disruption caused by the Three Gorges Dam. The focus is on an 87-year-old villager, whose life has been ruled by the moods of the river. Its floods have swept away family members and destroyed her home many times.

    Ep 2 - Kai Jai
    The primary source of AIDS infection in China is government run blood banks. This episode focuses on the story of a distraught father and his young daughter who is HIV positive, and shows rare glimpses of how a small village deals with personal tragedy, set against official cover-ups, denials, and national prejudices.

    Ep 3 - Dancing Girls
    Modernisation in China has brought with it the introduction of Western popular culture by way of nightclubs, discos and fast food outlets. "Nightman" is one of 187 nightclubs in Dalian, a city of 2.6 million people in Northern China. Dancing Girls gives a rare insight into modern china that will surprise many viewers.

    Ep 4 - Tian Tian
    This is one person's story of personal triumph set against the backdrop of the changing industrial face of China. Mr. and Mrs. Xia worked at a state run company which modernised and cut jobs; the family was forced to sell clothes at the local market. Mrs Xiao was attacked and killed by three men for her takings, and her daughter, Tian Tian, was paralysed from the neck down. It was then up to Mr. Xia to provide a normal life and education for his daughter.

    Ep 5 - Shanghai Jews
    Jews wishing to escape persecution in Germany prior to WW2 had few places to escape. One place that accepted refugees was Shanghai, where nearly 20,000 Jewish refugees fled. Arriving there with nothing, they spent a hard, hungry, disease-ridden time in camps acclimatising to China. This unique story, told through rare footage, letters and photographs, features Jacob, one Jew who stayed on in Shanghai. Jacob, who is deaf, married a Chinese woman and developed a universal sign language.

    Ep 6 - The Accusation
    Corruption has been ever-present in business and society in China. In this episode, a government official in Hunan finds evidence of corruption. When he brings this to the attention of his superiors he is warned off, but he refuses to comply. He then receives death threats, which he naively shrugs off; however his wife is killed shortly after. While his boss is convicted and jailed the official himself is shunned, ultimately losing his job and the prospect of further work. He is then arrested on trivial charges and jailed.

    DVD (Region 4) / 2010 / 180 minutes

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    Directed by XU Tong

    The colorful life of a countryside fortune teller provides a candid and deeply revelatory look at people living on the fringes of Chinese society.

    Li Baicheng is a charismatic fortune teller who services a clientele of prostitutes and shadowy 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, during which they visit their hometowns and confront old family demons. Li's humble story is punctuated with chapter headings reminiscent of Qing Dynasty popular fiction.

    In Fortune Teller, Xu Tong continues his work documenting China's underclass, whose lives have gone largely unnoticed during the country's boom years. Xu spent a year filming nearly every detail of Li's daily existence and the ancient spiritual practices he administers.

    DVD (Color, Mandarin with English Subtitles) / 2010 / 129 minutes

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    Directed by Xiaodan He

    The Fall of Womenland is a fascinating documentary on the unique sexual culture of the Mosuo people - a small minority situated in the southwest of China - and one of the last remaining matriarchal societies in the world.

    Without a formal marriage contract, the Mosuo traditionally build relationships based on free love and sexual satisfaction ('walking marriages'). But can the sexual liberty and power of the Mosuo women survive as modern Chinese society slowly encroaches their ancestral land?

    The film explores the present reality for the Mosuo people as well as the dangers that threaten their inherited way of life.

    DVD / 2009 / 46 minutes

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    By Lixin Fan

    Every spring, China's cities are plunged into chaos as 130 million migrant workers journey to their home villages for the New Year's holiday. This mass exodus is the world's largest human migration-an epic spectacle that reveals a country tragically caught between its rural past and industrial future.

    Working over several years in classic verite style Chinese-Canadian filmmaker Lixin Fan (with the producers of the award-winning hit documentary Up the Yangtze) travels with one couple who have embarked on this annual trek for almost two decades. Like so many of China's rural poor, Zhang Changhua and Chen Suqin left behind their two infant children for grueling factory jobs. Their daughter Qin-now a restless and rebellious teenager-both bitterly resents their absence and longs for her own freedom away from school, much to the utter devastation of her parents. Emotionally engaging and starkly beautiful, Last Train Home's intimate observation of one fractured family sheds light on the human cost of China's ascendance as an economic superpower.

    DVD (Region 1, Color, Mandarin and Sichuan dialect with English subtitles) / 2009 / 87 minutes

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    By LIU Jiayin

    Breaking new ground in cinematic art, Liu Jiayin's follow-up to her masterful debut OXHIDE turns a simple dinner into a profoundly intimate study of family relationships.

    Building on the stunning vision of OXHIDE (voted one of the best Chinese films of the 2000s), writer-director Liu Jiayin once again casts herself and her parents in scripted versions of their life in a tiny Beijing apartment. Liu takes her uncompromising artistry to the extreme, setting all of the action around the family dinner table, which doubles as her father's leather-making station. As the workbench is cleared for the family to make a dinner of dumplings, the camera catches every meticulous detail of the action in real time. Small moments between family members reveal deep insights into the mysteries of family relations and the art of everyday living.

    OXHIDE II advances the inimitable artistry of one of China's most prodigious filmmakers. Its lovingly intimate, naturalistic observations of working-class life suggest "the ultimate work of everyday realism" (Mike Walsh, Real Time Arts). At the same time, "Liu's shots are carefully, rigorously, exquisitely composed" (Berenice Reynaud, Senses of Cinema), showcasing one of the most gifted visual artists working in China today. The result is "a direct, honest, miniature epic" (Daniel Kasman, MUBI Notebook).

    DVD (Mandarin with English Subtitles, Color) / 2009 / 132 minutes

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    Peasant workers have made silent contributions to the reform and opening-up of China, and have witnessed the transition and development of the history of modern China. Peasant workers return to their native land and there is a shortage of labour in Pearl River Delta, Guangdong. Such phenomenon has become an important issue. Having strived hard to make a living in urban areas, why these peasants decide to go home? The reasons behind are worthy of deep reflection.

    This episode tells the true stories of two peasants who work in coastal cities and return to their homeland. The two cases illustrate the employment problems encountered by peasant workers and the changes experienced by this marginal group in the 30 years of economic reform in China.

    DVD / 2008 / 30 minutes

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    In a traditional marriage, a woman marries into the husband?s family, and her children take on the family name of their father. However, in some rich cities in Zhejiang Province, things are changing.

    The one-child policy has left some families with only one daughter. Feeling the need to carry on their family lineage, women now look for men who are willing to marry into their families so that their children could take up the mother?s surname. Meanwhile, men from other provinces are finding it hard to make ends meet in the cities, not to mention supporting a family. Because of this, some men are willing to do what it takes for a better life. With supply and demand in place, matchmaking agencies dedicated to this type of marriage are a thriving business. This could be a win-win situation, but are things always as good as they seem?

    DVD / 2008 / 30 minutes

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    By YANG Jin

    A rebellious teenager endures boarding school expulsion, family pressures and the harsh realities of rural life in northern China, until an uncovered secret from his past changes his life forever.

    Er Dong lives alone with his devout Christian mother in a small village. Frustrated with his bad behavior, his mother takes him to a Christian school with the hope that he will find God as well as a new direction in life. Instead, he finds a girlfriend, Changae, and their misconduct leads to their expulsion. Together they must face up to the harsh realities of work, parenthood and adult life in the tough economic reality of contemporary China. Recurring nightmares that plague Er Dong lead him to a shocking revelation of his own past.

    Yang Jin's second feature is a detail-rich, documentary-style portrait that builds with clear-eyed assurance through the life of a seemingly unheroic and unremarkable country boy. It's not until the film looks backwards that one gains the full scope of Er Dong's strangely epic journey. Quietly moving and full of authentic insight into the prospects for youth in rural China, ER DONG announces the arrival of a major new talent in filmmaker Yang Jin.

    DVD (Shanxi Dialect with English Subtitles, Color) / 2008 / 151 minutes

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    Directed by Cui Zi'en

    China's most prolific homosexual filmmaker presents a comprehensive historical account of the queer movement in modern China. QUEER CHINA, 'COMRADE' CHINA documents the changes and developments in Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender culture that have taken place in China over the last 80 years. Unlike any before, this film explores the historical milestones and ongoing advocacy efforts of the Chinese LGBT community. The film examines how shifting attitudes in law, media and education have transformed queer culture from being an unspeakable taboo to an accepted social identity. The film culminates with the submission of Dr. Li Yinhe's Same-sex Marriage Bill to the Legislative Affairs Commission of the National People's Congress in 2003, a major landmark event in the ongoing struggle for acceptance of queer identity in China.

    Directed by Cui Zi'en, China's leading queer theorist, activist and scholar, the documentary includes rarely seen footage of the first ever appearance of gays and lesbians on State television, including Cui Zi'en himself. The film features exclusive interviews with over three dozen leading queer activists, scholars and filmmakers, including Shi Tou, Li Yinhe and Zhang Yuan. The opening night film of 2009's ShanghaiPRIDE, China's first ever LGBT pride festival, QUEER CHINA, 'COMRADE' CHINA is nothing less than the most authoritative account of queer cultural history in China to date.

    DVD (Color, Mandarin with English Subtitles) / 2008 / 60 minutes

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    Directed by Ruby Yang

    Directed by Ruby Yang and produced by Thomas Lennon - the filmmakers behind the 2007 Academy Award-winning documentary The Blood of Yingzhou District - Tongzhi in Love explores what it's like to be gay in modern China.

    "Frog" Cui and his gay friends are torn between the lures of city life and the stern demands of Chinese tradition. They live in cosmopolitan Beijing, reveling in the freedom that it affords them.

    But traditionally, a Chinese son's solemn duty is to produce a child and carry forward the family line. That China's laws limit most families to a single child only compounds the pressures on gay men. Many resort to sham marriages.

    When his mother arrives to find him a girlfriend, Frog, 28 years old, understands that he cannot delay much longer. "Some of my gay friends have married lesbians," he confides. "At the wedding, I saw how happy their parents were."

    Long Ze, even as he relishes his sexual life with men, lashes out against gays who refuse to marry. "That attitude is selfish, completely selfish. If you live your whole life for yourself, not for your parents," he says, "how are you going to fulfill your responsibilities as Chinese man?"

    Frog's good friend, Xiang Feng, has asserted that he will come out to his parents on his next visit home. But when he and Frog travel the thousand miles into the Chinese countryside to the family village, events do not unfold as planned.

    Tongzhi, pronounced "tung- jee" is a noun that means companion, friend, or comrade, as in fellow communist. It is also slang for a gay man.

    DVD / 2008 / 30 minutes

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    Directed By Yung Chang

    In China, it is simply known as "The River." But the Yangtze - and all of the life that surrounds it - is undergoing a truly astonishing transformation wrought by the largest hydroelectric project in history, the Three Gorges Dam. Canadian documentary filmmaker Yung Chang returns to the gorgeous, now -disappearing landscape of his grandfather's youth to trace the surreal life of a "farewell cruise" that traverses the gargantuan waterway.

    With narrative agility, a humanist gaze and wry wit, Chang's Upstairs Downstairs approach beautifully captures the microcosmic society of the luxury liner. Below deck: A bewildered young girl trains as a dishwasher - sent to work by her peasant family, who is on the verge of relocation from the encroaching floodwaters. Above deck: A phalanx of wealthy international tourists set sail to catch a last glance of a country in dramatic flux. The teenaged employees who serve and entertain them - now tagged with new Westernized names like "Cindy" and "Jerry" by upper management - warily grasp at the prospect of a more prosperous future.

    Singularly moving and cinematically breathtaking, Up the Yangtze gives a human dimension to the wrenching changes facing not only an increasingly globalized China, but the world at large.

    DVD (Region 1, Color, English, Mandar and Sichuan with English Subtitles) / 2008 / 93 minutes

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    Over two hundred million migrants work illegally in China. Coming from the countryside into the cities, they power the country's massive economic growth. This film features two powerful reports which offer contrasting views of migrants in Shanghai.

    REPORT 1

    Kejun is 33 years old. He comes from one of China's poorest provinces. Searching for a better life, he was hired by a construction company in Shanghai, where he now works for 5 dollars a day, 7 days a week.

    China has approximately 200 million migrant workers. Most live like Kejun.

    Chinese law prohibits the rural population to move into the cities. But the Chinese economy has become dependent on this cheap workforce from the countryside. So the law is often ignored. Migrant workers live their lives in the city under constant threat.

    Kejun and his cousin make a visit home to their village. One year has gone since they last saw their children. "I am so excited to come home now," says Ka. "My life in Shanghai consists only of work - I do nothing else. You can get used to it, but it is very lonely."

    But Kejun's cousin is worried. She is six months pregnant, yet according to the law she shouldn't be. If someone in her village denounces her to the authorities, she will have to pay a huge fine - 600 dollars.

    Kejun's uncle Changhong is a head-hunter and it was he who hired Kejun. He's on the lookout for fresh workers for Shanghai's building sites. The younger - and the cheaper - the better for him.

    Uncle Changhong's latest recruit is packing for a new life. He will have to leave his wife and his little son behind. "I am very sad to leave my home," he says, "I will miss everything here -- especially my family and my parents. The other workers have told me that you can return home only once a year."

    REPORT 2

    Shanghai - the glittering epicentre of China's boom economy. Xu Chuanruo, a 52-year-old street sweeper, came to Shanghai five years ago, leaving behind his wife and two kids in Hubei province, 1,000km away.

    In Shanghai Xu can make up to 1,200 yuan per month -- about $200. In China that's good money -- but this requires a 12-hour day, seven days a week.

    Xu lives with seven other people in a single room and sends $100 per month back to his family. He spends what little spare time he has practicing the disappearing art of calligraphy.

    Meanwhile in a small workshop a team of migrant workers are making decorations for the New Year's celebrations. The lowest of the low are Zhang Yongqiang and his aunt Zhang Suqing who scavenge for styrofoam scraps.

    Communist China has no welfare net for its 100 million migrant workers -- they either work or go hungry. But the garbage collectors say that even a lowly job in Shanghai is better than the poverty of their village.

    Yet being a migrant worker doesn't necessarily equal poverty. Yang Mei has been in Shanghai for 12 years and now runs her own restaurant.

    All the staff in her restaurant are migrant workers. Many waitresses here are young and a long way from home. 19-year-old Zou Heyan arrived from Szechuan - a 4-day train trip - only about a week ago

    "I'm not used to the life here yet," says Zou, "I feel weak like jelly after a day's work. I suffer from diarrhoea as I'm not used to the climate …At home we didn't have enough to eat. I've experienced hardship, so I can bear a lot."

    DVD / 2007 / 27 minutes

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    By WENG Shouming

    Two interweaving stories of youth crime and family crisis shed light on illegal emigration and human trafficking in China's Fujian province, in this award-winning debut feature.

    In the southeastern coastal province of Fujian, Amerika and Roppongi (whose names refer to their absent fathers' whereabouts) front "The Neon Knights", a young band of delinquents caught up in fast living. They fuel their riotous routine by videotaping and blackmailing rich women engaged in trysts while their emigrant husbands are sending checks from overseas. Amerika's ruthlessness is put to the test when he catches his own mother in an affair. Meanwhile, fellow gang member Dragon, who turns to crime to pay his family's debt from smuggling his brother to Ireland, goes into hiding after stabbing a man. After an unexpected windfall, Dragon ponders whether to follow his brother out of the country or to help his family.

    Robin Weng's debut brings alive the world of Fujian, notoriously known as China's centre for illegal emigration and human trafficking. Shot vividly on film with street-level realism, Fujian becomes a blistering microcosm for an entire generation of young Chinese lost in the global era. FUJIAN BLUE is an unflinching depiction of the effect of globalization.

    DVD (Mandarin and Fujianese with English Subtitles, Color) / 2007 / 90 minutes

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    Directed by SHU Haolun

    Acclaimed filmmaker Shu Haolun explores the rich culture and history of his Shanghai neighborhood upon its impending destruction.

    Dazhongli is one of Shanghai's oldest neighborhoods. Shu Haolun's family has lived there for three generations, enjoying a close-knit, communal way of life with their neighbors. Now Dazhongli and its surrounding neighborhoods are in the process of being demolished to make way for gleaming skyscrapers, towering apartment complexes and luxury shopping centers. In NOSTALGIA, Shu relays vivid details of growing up among narrow alleys and courtyards murmuring with neighborhood gossip, back when Shanghai was still closed to the world. While sharing a wealth of memories, Shu uses his camera to capture the everyday details of his home before they are wiped out forever.

    NOSTALGIA is an ambitious cinematic essay that combines voice-over, interviews and re-enactments into a rich reflection of a city's past and present. In paying tribute to cultural traditions before they fade into history, Shu's work evokes a deeply moving feeling of nostalgia, "one that has universal appeal… grounded in humanist principles" (Thomas Podvin, That's Shanghai). NOSTALGIA connects one man's deeply intimate reflections with global societal issues.

    DVD (Color, Mandarin with English Subtitles) / 2006 / 70 minutes

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    By YING Liang

    Xiaofen (Zeng Xiaofei) spends all day listening to everything that's wrong with China, opening her eyes to the chaos that threatens her own life.

    Working as a secretary for a legal office, Xiaofen records clients detailing the sordid aspects of their lives: divorce cases, medical malpractice suits, financial corruption and old-fashioned personal revenge. Xiaofen starts to question her own relationship with her boyfriend (Deng Gang), fresh out of prison and looking to get into trouble again with his gambling habit. While Xiaofen deals with the overwhelming social malaise surrounding her, rumors spread of a disaster at the local chemical plant, threatening to poison the entire city.

    Indie director Ying Liang follows up his celebrated debut TAKING FATHER HOME with a brutally frank portrait of the social and environmental problems plaguing contemporary China.

    DVD (Sichuan dialect with English Subtitles, Color) / 2006 / 111 minutes

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    By Xiaoli Zhou

    Keepers of one of the last matriarchal societies in the world, Mosuo women in a remote area of southwest China live beyond the strictures of mainstream Chinese culture - enjoying great freedoms and carrying heavy responsibilities.

    Beautifully shot and featuring intimate interviews, this short documentary offers a rare glimpse into a society virtually unheard of 10 years ago and now often misrepresented in the media. Mosuo women control their own finances and do not marry or live with partners; they practice what they call "walking marriage." A man may be invited into a woman's hut to spend a "sweet night," but must leave by daybreak. While tourism has brought wealth and 21st century conveniences to this remote area, it has also introduced difficult challenges to the Mosuo culture - from pollution in the lake, to the establishment of brothels, to mainstream ideas about women, beauty and family. This finely wrought film is a sensitive portrayal of extraordinary women struggling to hold on to their extraordinary society.

    DVD (Mandarin, Color) / 2006 / 22 minutes

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    By LIU Jiayin

    Daily life in an impossibly cramped Beijing apartment takes on epic proportions in this, intimate portrait, with unprecedented access, of a working-class Chinese family.

    Boldly transforming documentary into fiction, Liu Jiayin cast her parents and herself as fictionalized versions of themselves. Her father, Liu Zaiping, sells leather bags but is slowly going bankrupt. He argues with his wife, Jia Huifen, and his daughter over methods to boost business in the shop. A cloud of anxiety follows them into sleepless nights shared in the same bed. But through the thousand daily travails of city life, a genuine and deeply moving picture of Chinese familial solidarity emerges from the screen.

    With virtually no budget and boundless ingenuity, Liu Jiayin's eye-opening debut, shot when she was 23 years old, consists of twenty-three static, one-scene shots within her family's fifty square meter home. Liu keeps her small DV camera in claustrophobic closeness to her subjects, often showing only parts of their bodies as their voices dominate the soundtrack. OXHIDE takes the microscopic physical and emotional details of a family and magnifies them on a widescreen canvas.

    DVD (Mandarin with English Subtitles, Color) / 2005 / 110 minutes

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    By CUI Zi'en

    Straight, gay and in-between Beijingers unleash a whirlwind of transsexual mayhem in this groundbreaking, gender-bending debut by China's preeminent queer filmmaker.

    Xiao Bo (Yu Bo) lives in a world where the lines defining men from women are constantly dissolving. He kneels at the deathbed of his father (Cui Zi'en) who has become a woman, and whose dying wish is to have oral sex with his/her son. His boyfriend Nana has also undergone a sex change, but Xiao Bo no longer finds her attractive as a woman. A sexual chain reaction ensues that wreaks havoc on traditional Chinese roles that govern male and female, parent and child.

    Filmmaker, novelist and queer activist Cui Zi'en caused an international sensation with his shockingly transgressive debut, inspired by the likes of Andy Warhol and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, but set within a specifically Chinese context.

    DVD (Mandarin with English Subtitles, Color) / 2002 / 80 minutes

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    By An van Dienderen

    The failures of the ethnographic endeavor to discover "reality" are revealed in this expository and experimental film. The narrator-ethnographer embarks on an expedition to encounter the Mosou, an isolated and matrilinear tribe in the mountains of South West China. Their society is built on the principle of the axia-relationship, ties between 'visitors of the night'. This means that a man only stays in his wife's house at night and during the day he works for the benefit of his grandmother. Since men and women do not have economical obligations, their unique, polyandric relationships are based on love only. Recently due to funding by the Han government, The Lugo region has turned into a major touristic area, where tradition and modernity clash -- particularly when the polyandry of the Mosuo is seen as prostitution by outsiders. Van Dienderen, a visual anthropologist, playfully reveals the distance between textual knowledge and the experience of a cinematographic journey in a thoughtful and fascinating documentary.

    DVD (Color) / 1998 / 34 minutes

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    By Wen-Jie Qin

    In a critical examination of changing concepts of beauty and sexuality in modern China, Woman Being illustrates how a flood of Western pop culture is adversely affecting women's expectations and self-worth. Revisiting her hometown Chengdu after a long absence, videomaker Wen-Jie Qin traces the impact of a newly booming beauty industry in a country where thirty years ago women were beat up for wearing makeup. Combining interviews and footage from glamour photo studios and television, Woman Being explores the rise of a new super-feminine, highly sexualized ideal. "This hard-nosed look at women in contemporary China makes a persuasive case for how the economies of pleasure, beauty, and consumption are transacted through exploiting women's bodies and images. It provides a sobering prognosis of what Ofreedom' might mean for women in China today." - Marina Heung, Baruch College, CUNY

    DVD (Color) / 1997 / 20 minutes

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