This is the ninth film of the “47 KM” series. In 2019, I spent my tenth winter in “47 KM” village. On one of the village’s hills, a new space is coming into being, from children’s paper drawings to the solid ground, from a fairytale to reality. Why did I name this film a fairytale? Why do we need fairy tales? In 2020, I started editing this film, it was a special year. It seems to me to be a reboot, a reconfirmation of the present and the future.
Zhang Mengqi was born in 1987. Since 2009, she has been a resident filmmaker and choreographer at Caochangdi Workstation in Beijing. A founding member of the Folk Memory Project. Mengqi has made nine feature-length documentaries filmed in her father’s village in Hebei Province, known as her “self-portrait series.” Her films have been selected by Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, Cinéma du Réel, Visions du Réel, RIDM and more. Her latest film Self-Portrait: Sphinx in 47 KM Won the “White Goose Award” in DMZ International Documentary Film Festival. Her choreographic work was performed in Rencontres Chorégraphiques Internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis(France), ImPuls Tanz (Austria), Eurokaz (Croatia), Künstlerhaus Mousonturm(Germany)
This film invites you to listen to personal accounts from 21 popo (elderly women) in my home village in Southeast China. Topics include childhood, marriage, political movements, the supernatural, and more. These fragmented narrations are interwoven according to emotional affect such as fear, pity, joy, bafflement, and self-demeaning. Everyday life goes on. Cuijuan popo wanders through the changing landscape. Lefen popo is busy with sutra chanting meetings. The village has much to say if its observers give up concepts of young and old, past and present, historic and mundane.
Yu Shuang was born in 1997 in Zhejiang, China. Shuang graduated from Duke University in the USA with a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology. She started to participate in Caochangdi Workstation‘s “Folk Memory Project” in winter, 2019 and has been conducting interviews about personal memories and filming the everyday life of her home village, Huangpotan village since.
Reading Jiaoxing Village I presents my experience of living in the UK during the global pandemic as a Chinese person, where I began to reflect on my own position in this world. It also reflects the crisis of self-identity of the young generation in the context of rapid urbanization in current China. This film leads a journey of self-examination and self-reflection by looking at the image of my hometown – Jiaoxing Village. Hometown is a mirror; when people look at it, it reflects themselves. I arrived at a deeper understanding of myself in respect to the world I inhabit when I read and analyzed the intellectual and physical practice in Jiaoxing village. This film is the start of further self-searching and self-recovery. I will continue reading my village, myself and our relationship; so-called—Reading Jiaoxing Village: Chapter One.
Gao Ang, born in 1991, is a PhD candidate in documentary filmmaking at Newcastle University in the UK. Her practice-led research interrogates contemporary forms of observational filmmaking as an embodied, self-reflexive, critical and creative practice through her own filmmaking practice and other filmmakers in the Folk Memory Project of Caochangdi Workstation in Beijing, China. This research challenges the naïve and outdated approaches of observational documentary, and explores more experimental forms of observational filmmaking rooted in embodied, creative practice as a form of ‘looking’, ‘being’ and ‘presence’. Reading Jiaoxing Village: Chapter one is her first documentary film, filming in her home village.
In my hometown everyone will make themselves a tomb. In 2020, when the coronavirus was ramping, my family built a tomb for my grandparents, which they had expected for years. As the designer, builder, and photographer, facing the tomb, I feel like facing the spiritual world of my hometown. Like a burrow, there is nothing but endless reconstructing and digging…
Hu Tao was born in Shanxi province. He studied cinematography at Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts and graduated in 2015. He joined the Folk Memory Project in 2013. His film Dumb Man nominated for the TAIWAN International Documentary Film Festival “Chinese Documentary Award”.