My Village (我的村子) – Shao Yuzhen
Now in her seventies, Shao Yuzhen has been making first-person documentaries about her home village of Shaziying (Beijing) since her selection for the China Villagers Documentary Project in 2005. The farmer, now locally well-known as the villager filmmaker, chronicles “all the bits and pieces of our everyday lives, since they, too, are part of my family’s and my fellow villagers’ life experiences”. (Shao)

Imbued with a remarkable sense of openness, her work is a form of activist journalism which seeks to challenge prejudice against the peasant class in contemporary China. From the opening shots, we come to recognise the intimacy which Shao’s camera immediately forms with each of her fellow villagers, making good on her declaration that “this film is for my village!”.

This film is in Mandarin Chinese with English subtitles.


Back to Huamulin (回到花木林) – Li Xinmin
“I grew up in Huamulin village (Yunnan province). In 2002, I left the village to make money. I was fourteen years old. Now, seven years later, I took a video camera for the first time and returned to my village.” (Li Xinmin)

Li documents the daily routines of her mother and sister who still work and live in Huamulin and records oral histories about the ‘communal kitchens’ in communist China. In the process of exploring her roots and reestablishing the relationship with her village and extended family, Li ruminates on the connections between the past and the present, and the personal and the social. Crafted with honesty and humility, this documentary beautifully embodies the possibility of using a camera to “attend” to rather than to “capture”.

This film is in Chinese (Yunnan local dialects) with English subtitles.

This screening will be followed by a Q&A with directors Shao Yuzhen and Li Xinmin (via Zoom).


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