Switzerland | 2018 | 73 min | English | Director Attending
In an entertaining and moving plea for human solidarity, Luc Schaedler’s latest documentary takes us on a journey from the grim days of recent Chinese history to the country’s dazzling present-day countercultural scene. The film centres around five of the most significant representatives of contemporary Chinese arts—avant-garde painters the Gao Brothers, modern-dance choreographer Wen Hui, subversive animator Pi San and poet/former police officer Ye Fu. With bravery and wit, each sheds light on China’s social problems and their personal struggles to come to terms with the violence and oppression that accompanied the democracy movement of 1989 and the Cultural Revolution of 1966 to 1976. The artist’s question of which values determine our cultural identity, and in what kind of world we wish to live, reveals the ultimate vision of a democratic, supportive and humane civil society.
Born in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1963, Luc Schaedler studied cultural anthropology, film and social history at Zurich University and, since 1998, has conducted research in India, China, Tibet and Japan. In 1998 he helped establish Zurich’s Magic Lantern children’s film club and in 2002 he co-founded the Regard Bleu film festival. Luc was awarded a PhD in visual anthropology in 2005. His previous films include Made in Hong Kong (1997), Angry Monk – Reflections on Tibet (2005), and Watermarks – Three Letters from China (2013).
“China always inspired me to think about my own world,” Luc says. “Taking a close look at another culture can cause you to see your own in a new light. From my perspective as a Swiss filmmaker, I ask myself, ‘How would I behave in their situation? How are we each shaped by our past?’”