Ecran de Chine is an annual film festival dedicated to independent Chinese documentaries.
Founded in Paris in 2010, it quickly established itself as the most reliable source of creative documentaries realized by independent Chinese filmmakers to become an inescapable window on Chinese reality, all the while bringing to the fore the evolution of Chinese documentary filmmakers skills.
Initially focussed on Paris, Ecrans de Chine has branched out to Italy, Germany and to Finland. This year, in 2017, it will also be present in Belgium !
For this first Brussels edition, 6 very different movies have been selected according to their subjects and method of approach, all however offering a very close look into the Chinese society of today.
This film is drawn from a selection of photos and videos that Jiao has shot since the 1980s, during his trips to his parents’ house in rural China. It’s an unvarnished and affectionate portrayal of the everyday life of a simple Chinese family in a remote mountain village. The aging couple works on the land and looks after the photographer’s disabled elder brother. They bicker constantly, but are clearly devoted to each other.
For Jiao, photographing his mom and dad has been his way to keep his family close by. Over the years, as we see his parents change, the intimacy within the family changes, too – until, inevitably, death approaches. Out of more than 600 hours of raw video material, Jiao filtered a moving and intimate love story that provides insight into the lives of two elderly people in the Chinese countryside.
China’s van Goghs tells the stories of peasant turned painters who are carving out different paths for themselves after years of hand copying Western masterpieces, which are sold to high street retailers around the world. While van Gogh only sold one painting in his life-time, these production line painters have sold van Goghs in the thousands.
Our focus is one of the peasant-turned painter transitioning from making copies of iconic Western paintings to creating his own authentic works of art. For him, van Gogh represents more than just his livelihood; his art, life and legend motivates him to fulfill his own dream. His journey is emblematic of China’s Dream for the 21st Century: to go from ‘Made in China’ to ‘Created in China’.
An assembly line worker in an Apple factory who commits suicide at the young age of 24, leaving behind 200 poems of despair—“I swallowed an iron moon…..”; a guileless lathe operator who is rebuffed at every turn, living in the world of his poetry; a female clothing factory worker who lives in poverty but writes poetry rich in dignity and love; a coalminer who works deep in the earth year round, trying to contact and make peace with the spirits of his dead coworkers through his poetry; and a goldmine demolitions worker who blasts rocks several kilometers into mountainsides to support his family, while writing poetry to carry the weight of his fury and affections—“My body carries three tons of dynamite….” They could be any of the 350 million workers in China, and yet these five are also poets. Using poetry as a tool to chip away at the ice of silence, they express the hidden life stories and experiences of people living at the bottom of the society. This is one story behind the sudden rise of China, and a mournful song of global capitalism.
For the first time ever, the most ancient caravan trail in the world offers a glimpse into its past. More than 4000 km long, passing by oases at 200 m below sea level, crossing three climate zones, numerous rainforests and more than twenty mountain chains with eternally snow covered peaks at the top of the world at altitudes of more than 6000 m, this is definitely the most extraordinary route of commerce that our civilization has ever known. As a setting to so many human adventures, the tea trail is undoubtedly China’s most beautiful present to the World.
Vegetable farmer Chen Jun moved from the countryside of Hebei province to a suburb of Beijing 15 years ago. He rents a land from the municipality for farming, and runs a telephone hotline for Beijing’s migrant workers, helping them fight for their rights. As a result of largescale urban expansion, the municipality now wants to earn money by taking the land back and building tower blocks for China’s burgeoning new middle class. But Chen and his wife refuse to be fobbed off without compensation; instead they take up the fight against all kinds of intimidation, even if that means years of living in the midst of a building site without electricity or water. With no land left in their hometown and no place to go in the city, where is the destination of Chen Jun’s family?
The film explores the huge transformation taking place in China today, from the perspectives of four of the country’s most powerful businesswomen.
They experienced the austerity of China’s cultural revolution, followed by the subsequent economic boom. Though growing up in a patriarchal society, they have risen from nothing and have become symbols of change. How they created their empires, what is the social and economic context in which they operate and what is the price they had to pay in terms of their private lives: these are the questions which the film sets out to tackle through a series of first-hand accounts given by the subjects.
The festival takes place at Cinéma Vendôme, 18 Chaussée de Wavre, 1050 Brussels, from 13 to 15 october.
If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact us !
|Opening ceremony with “China’s Van Gogh”||Friday 13 october 2017||19h00|
|“My Father and My Mother”||Saturday 14 october 2017||19h00|
|“Iron Moon”||Saturday 14 october||21h20|
|“La route du thé”||Sunday 15 october||17h00|
|“My Land”||Sunday 15 october||19h35|
|“The Other Half of the Sky”||Sunday 15 october||21h35|
|3 Days Pass||13-15 october 2017|