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Living Elsewhere / The Chinese Mayor

5 Aug (Sat),7:30pm

Living Elsewhere (1999)
40 min, Sichuanese with English subtitles, Digital, China

Set in the half-built villas of an abandoned gated community in Sichuan province, Living Elsewhere follows the illegal inhabitants of the unfinished buildings, most of whom are destitute migrant labourers who have left behind rural lives to try to find jobs in the city. The film captures their existence in the marginal space at the city’s limits, where rural traditions and urban conditions intersect.

Wang Jianwei’s (Chinese, b.1958) work examines the connections between art and social reality. After serving in the military from 1977 to 1983, Wang studied oil painting at the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (now China Academy of Fine Arts) in Hangzhou, graduating in 1987. In the early 1990s, he began making documentary films, performance, video, and other multimedia productions.

M+ Sigg Collection
The Chinese Mayor (2015)
89 min, Putonghua with Chinese and English subtitles, Digital, China

Once the thriving capital of imperial China, by 2008, Datong had become a shabby coal-mining city, and one of the most polluted places in China. New Mayor Geng Yanbo planned to change that, announcing a bold plan to return Datong to its former cultural glory, recreating parts of the ancient city and establishing a new touristic haven. Such declarations, however, came at a devastating cost for the city’s inhabitants. Winner of the Special Jury Prize for Unparalleled Access at Sundance, The Chinese Mayor offers a fascinating portrait of a country hurtling toward an increasingly unstable future.

Zhou Hao (Chinese, b.1968) began his career as a photojournalist for China’s national news group, Xinhua News Agency, and the influential newspaper Southern Weekly, before embarking on a career as a documentary filmmaker. In the six films he has made to date, Zhou has documented the lives of drug addicts, migrant labourers, emergency room workers and patients, politicians, cotton farmers, and police.

Courtesy of CNEX Studio Corporation and CNEX Foundation Limit, Zhaoqi Films


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