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Chinese Society

Chinese Society


By Wen Hai, Zeng Jinyan

Shot over a six-year period (2009-2015) in the industrial heartland of south China, a major hub in the global supply chain, WE THE WORKERS follows labor activists as they find common ground with workers, helping them negotiate with local officials and factory owners over wages and working conditions. Threats, attacks, detention and boredom become part of their daily lives as they struggle to strengthen worker solidarity in the face of threats and pressures from the police and their employers. In the process, we see in their words and actions the emergence of a nascent working class consciousness and labor movement in China.

DVD (English, Mandarin, Color, With English Subtitles) / 2017 / 174 minutes

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By Wang Bing

BITTER MONEY documents China's rapid economic and social transformation by following the rural workers who leave their Yunnan hometown to move to the city of Huzhou, one of the busiest cities of eastern China (with the highest number of part-time workers), to labor in its textile factories. But what they find are few opportunities and poor living conditions that push people, even couples, into violent and oppressive relations. The camera follows Xiao Min, Ling Ling, and Lao Yeh closely, capturing the emotions of their daily hard work and disappointments upon receiving their wages. The film deals directly with the effects of 21st-century capitalism, as filmmaker Wang Bing acts as witness to the lives of people forced to adapt to a new economic landscape.

DVD (Mandarin, Color, With English Subtitles) / 2016 / 152 minutes

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In China, to live a better life, you have to be better-off.
Is there another way?
Tang Guanhua, contemporary artist, believes so.
He took the road less travelled by. And that has made all the difference.

In 2011, Tang closed his profit making design company and founded the "China Self-sufficient Laboratory" in the rural outskirt of Qingdao. For 5 years, Tang and his wife had tried to survive by their own wiles, producing everything from shoes to electricity, giving up prestige job and. The experience strengthened his belief that the more one relies on money, the less independent thinking they can have.

Now he goes a step further.
He strives to build a utopia - or in his words, an Intentional Community, the first of its kind in China. On a rural farmland in Fuzhou, Tang and his followers pursued their dream. Having the same visions and values, they want to form a self-sufficient community, sharing skills and talents. It should be environmentally sustainable and it should have its own social structure, education and welfare system. Decisions are to make through deliberation.

While cities in China are crippled by smog, mercenaries and wealth gaps, is such community an alternative for our future generations?

DVD / 2016 / 25 minutes

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2016.1.1 marks the end of China's one-child policy, allowing all couples to give birth for second kid since draconian family planning rules were introduced more than 30 years ago.

The policy is said to be an elixir for the aging community in China, albeit previous fine-tuning policy such as "selective two-child policy" fails to encourage couple to have two kids.

While kids that are born in and after 2016 are "contributors" to the aging problems in China, kids that were born before were called the "invisible men" simple because their parents.

As seen through the eyes of the second kid without identity, this documentary further examines the pains and problems left as a result of the one child policy and the greater meaning it holds about the essence of birth control.

DVD / 2016 / 25 minutes

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Taogou Village is a county in Suzhou city, Anhui Province, the only place where training animal for circus performance in China, it's also called the origin of the Chinese circus because 90% of the circus teams are from here. In the village, hundred of lions, tigers, bears are conducting "talent training" every day, there are over 300 circuses in the village with over 20,000 employees, annual income over 300 millions, circus becomes the biggest business in the town.

Wei Zheng joined the circus when he was in 17 and now is a circus owner, the 3rd generation of the circus family. Wei's family started circus performance over 100 years since his grandfather. However, the law of anti-abusing animal implied recently, the way of training animal is claimed as inhumanity, despite the fact that the circus industry in China has a long history, it declines as a result. As a national intangible cultural heritage, how will it survive? Is it time to be banned? Will Wei Zheng be the last animal tamer? All those questions are harassing him.

DVD / 2016 / 25 minutes

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Web Stars - a New Force

"Online Celebrity" is becoming a trend in mainland. Through sharing their eye-catching photos or videos, they display a beautiful lifestyle that fulfills the aspiration of their internet followers. Furthermore, these online celebrities have find a way to turn this virtual fame and support into real fortune.

Eve Cheung, a famous online celebrity from Shanghai, has started her online boutique which sale over hundred millions every year. Adonis Liao, another online celebrity from Beijing, believes that the digital age allows even the most ordinary people to display their talents to the world, which he found good-looking is definitely an advantage that he wants to pursueˇK

DVD / 2016 / 25 minutes

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Does the rise of GDP reflect the rise of a great nation? Wang shao-sen, Sen, does not agree. Sen is a post 80's youth who owns a silk cloth company in Dalian. Two years ago, he watched a shadow play show held by E Wen-wu, an 80 years old Chinese shadow play show artist, in an old cinema. Sen was impressed by the show. He designed to prepare a nationwide shadow play tour for the old artists. However, he finds it is hard to renew people's interest on traditional culture even he gave up his own silk business and lost 20 thousand RMB to promote the shows.

Finally, he finds a way out with an unexpected channel-internet crowd-funding platform in China. What will happen when the traditional culture and the new media collide?

DVD / 2016 / 25 minutes

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By Sophia Luvara

In a nondescript lounge somewhere in Shanghai, men and women giggle, eyeing prospective partners, visibly nervous about making the first move. This isn't your average matchmaking event - it's a "fake-marriage fair," where gay men and women meet to make matrimonial deals with members of the opposite sex in order to satisfy social and familial expectations of heterosexual unions. Inside the Chinese Closet is the intricate tale of Andy and Cherry looking for love and happiness in vibrant Shanghai. They are both homosexual but their families demand a (heterosexual) marriage and a baby from them. Because being single and childless would mean an unacceptable loss of face for their rural families, particularly in the remote countryside where they live. Will Andy and Cherry deny their happiness and sexual orientation to satisfy their parents' wishes? The stories of Andy and Cherry mirror the legal and cultural progress that is happening in China against the backdrop of a nation coming to terms with new moral values.

DVD (Color) / 2016 / 70 minutes

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Directed by Zhou Hao

Once the thriving capital of Imperial China, the city of Datong now lies in near ruins. Not only is it the most polluted city in the country, it is also crippled by decrepit infrastructure and even shakier economic prospects. But Mayor Geng Tanbo plans to change all that, announcing a bold, new plan to return Datong to its former glory, the cultural haven it was some 1,600 years ago. Such declarations, however, come at a devastatingly high cost. Thousands of homes are to be bulldozed, and a half-million of its residents (30 percent of Datong's total population) will be relocated under his watch. Whether he succeeds depends entirely on his ability to calm swarms of furious workers and an increasingly perturbed ruling elite. The Chinese Mayor captures, with remarkable access, a man and, by extension, a country leaping frantically into an increasingly unstable future.

DVD / 2014 / 86 minutes

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By Marlo Poras

A tale of two sisters living in the shadow of two Chinas, this documentary by award-winning filmmaker Marlo Poras (Mai's America; Run Grany Run) follows Juma and Latso, young women from one of the world's last remaining matriarchal societies. Thrust into the worldwide economic downturn after losing jobs in Beijing and left with few options, they return to their remote Himalayan village. But growing exposure to modernity has irreparably altered traditions of the Mosuo, their tiny ethnic miniority, and home is not the same. Determined to keep their family out of poverty, one sister sacrifices her educational dreams and stays home to farm, while the other leaves, trying her luck in the city. The changes test them in unexpected ways. This visually stunning film highlights today's realities of women's lives and China's vast cultural and economic divides while offering rare views of a surviving matriarchy.

DVD (Mandarin/Mosuo/Tibetan, Color) / 2013 / 80 minutes

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Directed by Xu Ruotao, J.P. Sniadecki, Huang Xiang

Yumen is a documentary-fiction hybrid that tells the story of a ghost town - Yumen, in China's western Gansu province - through a series of wandering characters and inventive vignettes.

Filmed in and around a once-thriving, oil-rich town that has since been left depleted and derelict, Yumen is a haunting, fragmented tale of hungry souls, restless youth, a wandering artist, and a lonely woman, all searching for human connection and a collective past among the town's crumbling landscape.

One part "ruin porn," one part ghost story, and shot entirely on 16mm, the film brings together narrative gesture, performance art, and socialist realism into a crude and radiant collage that not only plays with convention and defies genre, but also pays homage to a disappearing life-world and a fading medium.

DVD / 2013 / 65 minutes

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Directed by Alex Gabbay

Who will grow China's food as young people leave the countryside for the cities?

In many remote areas of China young people have little choice but to stay on the land, and yet they may face a destitute future, with millions of farmworkers in China earning less than two dollars a day. Although there are some exceptions, farming is not generally seen as a "sexy" career choice.

The reality is that in China and around the world, young people are fleeing the countryside and moving to the big cities. Who will grow the food that feeds future generations? How can young people be convinced that farming is a good option? Californian-born Rand and his wife Sherry are the founders of Resonance China, a social media agency in Shanghai. They use the internet to create and identify trends and tricks that can create a buzz for global brands. FUTURE FOOD sets Resonance a task: can they make farming popular with young people?

DVD / 2012 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adult) / 29 minutes

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By JI Dan

On the outskirts of Beijing, two teenage girls from a migrant family struggle to earn the money to pay for their brother's schooling with little help from their troubled and eccentric parents.

Growing up in a rickety hut on a garbage-filled lot, Xia, Ling, and Gang recognize that a good education is their only possible ticket to a better life. Their older sister, who left school to begin working, has disappeared, likely kidnapped and sold into prostitution.

As migrants, they are prevented by China's hukou (residence permit) system from attending a free public school, and when the school that had provided them with scholarships closes, they are forced to look for new options. With very little money to their name, they place all their hopes in Gang, the older brother.

Their complicated home life doesn't make things any easier. Their alcoholic father and their mother are frequently at one another's throats, and do not seem to understand the gravity of their children's situation.

Director Ji Dan, one of China's preeminent female filmmakers, first met Xia, Ling, and Gang in 2004, while making a film about education in China, This intimate, patient portrait grew out of their close relationship over many years.

WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS at once explores the particular dynamics of one family and exposes the widespread difficulties faced by migrants living at the margins of Chinese society.

DVD (Color) / 2012 / 144 minutes

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By Susan Morgan Cooper

MULBERRY CHILD is an adaptation to Jian Ping's book, Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China. Ping's memoir tells the tale of her experiences growing up in China during the Cultural Revolution. Written to bridge a growing emotional and cultural disconnect between Jian and her thoroughly Americanized daughter Lisa, the book recounts their family's journey of survival, from persecution and banishment to political rehabilitation, and its profound effects on Jian.

This moving and beautifully shot documentary, artfully intertwines on-camera interviews with dramatic re-enactments, archival footage, rarely seen photos of China under Mao, and voice-over narration by Jacqueline Bissett. Book-ended by the story of Jian and Lisa's complicated relationship, their visit to China, and a joyful family reunion, MULBERRY CHILD addresses universal issues between mother and daughter, triumph and adversity and the clash between modernity and tradition. This film offers students and audiences alike a heartfelt window into and a greater understanding of the recent history of China, the Cultural Revolution and its impact on the Chinese and Chinese American immigrants.

DVD (Chinese, Color) / 2011 / 85 minutes

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By Gary Marcuse and Betsy Carson

Waking the Green Tiger tells the dramatic story of the rise of the first major grassroots environmental movement in China, a significant development that could reshape the country. Seen through the eyes of farmers, journalists, activists and a former government insider, the film traces the historical evolution of the movement and highlights an extraordinary campaign to stop a huge dam project slated for the Upper Yangtze River in southern China.

Featuring archival footage never seen outside China, and interviews with insiders and witnesses, the documentary also portrays the earlier history of Chairman Mao's campaigns to conquer nature in the name of progress. Mao mobilized millions of people in campaigns that reshaped China's landscape, destroyed lakes, forests and grasslands, and unleashed dust storms. Despite the evident consequences, critics of this approach were silenced for decades.

The green movement emerged when a new environmental impact law was passed in 2004. For the first time in China's history, ordinary citizens gained the right to speak out and take part in government decisions. Green activism grew into a larger movement as local villagers and urban activists joined forces to oppose a massive new dam at Tiger Leaping Gorge on the Upper Yangtze that would have displaced 100,000 people. Their extraordinary campaign is a primary focus of the film.

DVD (Region 1, English and Mandarin, Closed Captioned, With English Subtitles) / 2011 / (Grades 9 - Adult) / 78 minutes

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Directed by Sheng Zhimin and Emma Tassy

In the past twenty years, some of the most provocative, controversial and sought-after art has been made in China. This documentary provides an in-depth overview of the Chinese contemporary art scene.

China, the world's economic superpower, is known for many things. But contemporary art is not usually one of them. That however has changed.

There was a time when Chinese artists worked clandestinely, exhibiting their work underground, mostly to friends, other artists, and a small circle of followers. Today, they are darlings of the art world. Their work regularly sells for some of the highest prices, and contemporary Chinese are has become the single fastest-growing segment of the international art market.

China, The Empire of Art? Traces the history of this unprecedented art explosion. It visits new art schools literally inundated with applications, like the Hangzou Fine Arts Institute which in 2009 received 30,000 submissions for a coveted 1,500 seats. And it profiles the established artists whose remarkable work has fuel this boom.

DVD / 2010 / 52 minutes

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Directed by XU Tong

The colorful life of a countryside fortune teller provides a candid and deeply revelatory look at people living on the fringes of Chinese society.

Li Baicheng is a charismatic fortune teller who services a clientele of prostitutes and shadowy figures whose jobs, like his, are commonplace but technically illegal in China. He practices his ancient craft in a village near Beijing while taking care of his deaf and dumb wife Pearl, who he rescued from her family's mistreatment. Winter brings a police crackdown on both fortune tellers and prostitutes, forcing Li and Pearl into temporary exile, during which they visit their hometowns and confront old family demons. Li's humble story is punctuated with chapter headings reminiscent of Qing Dynasty popular fiction.

In Fortune Teller, Xu Tong continues his work documenting China's underclass, whose lives have gone largely unnoticed during the country's boom years. Xu spent a year filming nearly every detail of Li's daily existence and the ancient spiritual practices he administers.

DVD (Color, Mandarin with English subtitles) / 2010 / 129 minutes

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Directed by HUANG Weikai

Huang Weikai's one-of-a-kind news documentary captures, with remarkable freedom, the anarchy, violence, and seething anxiety animating China's major cities today. As urbanization in China advances at a breakneck pace, Chinese cities teeter on the brink of mayhem. One man dances in the middle of traffic while another attempts to jump from a bridge before dozens of onlookers. Pigs run wild on a highway while dignitaries swim in a polluted river. Unshowable on China's heavily controlled television networks, Disorder reveals an emerging underground media, one that has the potential to truly capture the ground-level upheaval of Chinese society.

Huang Weikai collects footage from a dozen amateur videographers and weaves them into a unique symphony of urban social dysfunction. Huang shatters and reconstructs a world that's barely comprehensible, though with palpable energy - vibrant, dangerous, and terrifying.

DVD (Black & White, Mandarin with English subtitles) / 2009 / 58 minutes

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Directed by Xiaodan He

The Fall of Womenland is a fascinating documentary on the unique sexual culture of the Mosuo people - a small minority situated in the southwest of China - and one of the last remaining matriarchal societies in the world.

Without a formal marriage contract, the Mosuo traditionally build relationships based on free love and sexual satisfaction ('walking marriages'). But can the sexual liberty and power of the Mosuo women survive as modern Chinese society slowly encroaches their ancestral land?

The film explores the present reality for the Mosuo people as well as the dangers that threaten their inherited way of life.

DVD / 2009 / 46 minutes

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Directed by Jia Zhang-ke

A masterful new documentary from Jia Zhang-ke - "Not only is the 38-year-old director the most prominent Chinese filmmaker of his generation, he also has come to assume the role of witness and conscience in a society characterized by rapid modernization and a growing amnesia." (Dennis Lim, LA Times, 2008) - 24 City recounts the dramatic and thunderous fall of the state-owned Factory 420, exploring both its physical demolition and its powerful symbolic echo of a half-century of communist rule.

Given the name Factory 420 as an internal military security code, the Chengdu Engine Group was founded in 1958 to produce aviation engines, and saw years of prosperous activity. Now abandoned, the factory awaits its destiny. Sold for millions to real-estate developers, it will be transformed into an emblem of market economy: a complex of luxury apartment blocks called 24 City.

Constructed around eight dramatic interviews, punctuated by snippets of pop songs and poetry, along with beautifully-shot footage of the demolition, 24 City excavates the debris of collective memory and emphasizes the thin boundary between fact and fiction in post-revolutionary Chinese history. It does so by weaving into this oral history three fictional monologues delivered by professional actors. The interviewees represent three generations with ties to the factory: former factory workers, contemporary workers, and their children.

An absolutely mesmerizing experience, 24 City attempts to understand the complexity of the social changes sweeping across China by observing the impact a half-century of Socialism has had on the Chinese people.

DVD (Mandarin, With English Subtitles) / 2008 / 107 minutes

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In a traditional marriage, a woman marries into the husband?s family, and her children take on the family name of their father. However, in some rich cities in Zhejiang Province, things are changing.

The one-child policy has left some families with only one daughter. Feeling the need to carry on their family lineage, women now look for men who are willing to marry into their families so that their children could take up the mother?s surname. Meanwhile, men from other provinces are finding it hard to make ends meet in the cities, not to mention supporting a family. Because of this, some men are willing to do what it takes for a better life. With supply and demand in place, matchmaking agencies dedicated to this type of marriage are a thriving business. This could be a win-win situation, but are things always as good as they seem?

DVD / 2008 / 30 minutes

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China is transforming with the construction of skyscrapers and modern architectures, which signify rapid economic development and the rise of a powerful nation. However, behind the scene of prosperity, many homes have been destroyed.

Zhang Wei used to reside in Xianyukou District, which belonged to a historical conservation district. Two years ago,the government demolished her home by force for reason of constructing new roads. It pushed Zhang Wei to the path of making appeals to higher authorities, and she determined to prove that the government had violated the Law on the Protection of Cultural Relics by carrying out illegal demolition. Unfortunately, the court delayed the trial deliberately and the police also hindered them from making appeals. It became a tough journey for her.

On 6th August 2008, two days prior to the opening of the Olympics, Zhang Wei was detained for 30 days on suspicion of undermining social order. The absence of an independent judiciary in China makes defending against illegal demolition more difficult.

There used to be over 300 households in Cuobuling Village, Qingdao. After illegal redevelopment carried out by the district government, only the household of Madam Yu remained. To persist in her defence, she had lived a life without water and electricity supply for over a year while expecting the court ruling at second instance. Being unable to seek help from the government, Yu Jian-li, one of the villagers, reported the crimes of corrupted officials on the internet. Consequently, he was convicted of defamation and sentenced to prison.

Although the Property Law has been promulgated for nearly a year, cases of incompliance with the law still exist. If the issue is not resolved, we will see more cases of illegal redevelopment in the future, pushing more people to the path of defending their rights.

DVD / 2008 / 30 minutes

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Directed by J.P. Sniadecki

"If the old doesn't go, the new never comes" recites a teenager hanging out near a demolition site in the center of Chengdu, the Sichuan capital in western China. In Demolition, filmmaker J.P. Sniadecki deconstructs the transforming cityscape by befriending the migrant laborers on the site and documenting the honest, often unobserved, human interactions, yielding a wonderfully patient and revealing portrait of work and life in the shadow of progress and economic development.

With delicate attention to form, the first part of the film comments on the raucous visual and aural space of the worksite; the dulling repetition of physical labor, the chaos of liberated metal rods and dirt, and the uncanniness of the human-machine relationship. Sniadecki then shifts focus from the demolition to the demolishers - following them as they work, eat, and go out at night - merging observational cinema, impromptu interviews, and the diverse reactions elicited by his own presence.

Demolition is a candid and poetic addition to Sniadecki's visual studies of Chinese subcultures. Embracing the inescapable power of a camera to change the behavior of its subjects, Sniadecki astutely explores these ramifications in a film that clearly considers the lives of the workers more compelling than the intangible product of their labor.

DVD / 2008 / 62 minutes

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Directed by Annemarie Gallone

As China changes at an awesome rate, becoming more industrialized, urban and westernized, this film explores how this has impacted traditional relationships between men and women. Our guide is a young journalist, Yang Li Ne, whose parents have just divorced and whose own marriage is unraveling.

She speaks about love and sex with young Bejingers, as well as older couples from the villages. Many of the young are afraid of commitment and are cynical about love and marriage. Money, not love, they say, is the basis for marriage. Prostitution is rampant; an estimated 6% of the national revenue comes from prostitution. Older couples reflect on the vanishing traditions that have given their marriages stability.

A young gay man who was hesitant to be identified describes the homophobia in Chinese society and the secrecy with which gay and lesbians must lead their lives. He talks about the difference between making love and having sex.

Examples of China's traditional erotic art, which was nurtured by the imperial court, are laced through the film. This documentary would be rated R.

DVD / 2008 / 52 minutes

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By Baudouin Koenig

The economic reforms introduced in China in 1978 generated profound social changes and new psychological pressures, creating increased levels of anxiety and depression amongst the populace. Over the last ten to fifteen years, the development of psychoanalysis in China reflects the changing needs of a society that is just learning how to express personal feelings.

OEDIPUS IN CHINA visits a number of Chinese hospitals, mental health centers and universities, interviewing students, psychologists, psychotherapists, researchers and other mental health professionals, including Huo Datong, a pioneer of Chinese psychoanalysis known as the "Freud of China," and psychoanalyst Alf Gerlach and psychologist Margaret Haass Wisegart, German doctors who are helping to adapt psychoanalysis to traditional Chinese culture.

The film examines the historical roots of some of China's current psychological problems, including the negative impact of Mao's personality cult, the shattering of traditional social and family structures during the Cultural Revolution in the Sixties, and the contemporary psychological dynamics of single child families.

OEDIPUS IN CHINA shows the new interest in psychotherapy in China through patient consultations, a mental health call center, hospital staff meetings, university classroom sessions, a center for autistic children, and an international mental health conference. What the film also reveals, however, is that for psychoanalysis to play a significant role in Chinese society will require democratic reforms that enable true freedom of speech.

DVD (Color) / 2008 / 52 minutes

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Directed by Ruby Yang

Directed by Ruby Yang and produced by Thomas Lennon - the filmmakers behind the 2007 Academy Award-winning documentary The Blood of Yingzhou District - Tongzhi in Love explores what it's like to be gay in modern China.

"Frog" Cui and his gay friends are torn between the lures of city life and the stern demands of Chinese tradition. They live in cosmopolitan Beijing, reveling in the freedom that it affords them.

But traditionally, a Chinese son's solemn duty is to produce a child and carry forward the family line. That China's laws limit most families to a single child only compounds the pressures on gay men. Many resort to sham marriages.

When his mother arrives to find him a girlfriend, Frog, 28 years old, understands that he cannot delay much longer. "Some of my gay friends have married lesbians," he confides. "At the wedding, I saw how happy their parents were."

Long Ze, even as he relishes his sexual life with men, lashes out against gays who refuse to marry. "That attitude is selfish, completely selfish. If you live your whole life for yourself, not for your parents," he says, "how are you going to fulfill your responsibilities as Chinese man?"

Frog's good friend, Xiang Feng, has asserted that he will come out to his parents on his next visit home. But when he and Frog travel the thousand miles into the Chinese countryside to the family village, events do not unfold as planned.

Tongzhi, pronounced "tung- jee" is a noun that means companion, friend, or comrade, as in fellow communist. It is also slang for a gay man.

DVD / 2008 / 30 minutes

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Directed by ZHOU Hao

An unusual relationship develops between an urban Chinese couple struggling with heroin and a filmmaker chronicling their addiction, in this provocative documentary on drug abuse, filmmaking and friendship.

For three years, filmmaker Zhou Hao chronicled the lives of Long and Jun, a couple struggling with heroin addiction in Guangzhou. Zhou captures Chinese junkie subculture, its members languishing in a slum flophouse, the equivalent of a modern day opium den. When Long is hospitalized after a failed robbery, Zhou speaks out from behind the camera to intervene. Still, Long and Jun persist, soon dealing drugs full-time to make ends meet. As the couple increasingly offers lies for answers, Zhou must confront his ethical responsibilities to them, as a friend and a documentarian.

USING probes a dark, cruel reality of contemporary Chinese society that has rarely been seen by any audience. Addicts disclose techniques for dealing with police, confronting sham suppliers and staying high throughout the day. Zhou's unflinching depiction of his friends' repeated attempts to quit blurs the line between filmmaker and subject, and raises provocative questions about the ways in which each uses the other.

DVD (Color, Mandarin with English subtitles) / 2008 / 105 minutes

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Over two hundred million migrants work illegally in China. Coming from the countryside into the cities, they power the country's massive economic growth. This film features two powerful reports which offer contrasting views of migrants in Shanghai.

Kejun is 33 years old. He comes from one of China's poorest provinces. Searching for a better life, he was hired by a construction company in Shanghai, where he now works for 5 dollars a day, 7 days a week.

China has approximately 200 million migrant workers. Most live like Kejun.

Chinese law prohibits the rural population to move into the cities. But the Chinese economy has become dependent on this cheap workforce from the countryside. So the law is often ignored. Migrant workers live their lives in the city under constant threat.

Kejun and his cousin make a visit home to their village. One year has gone since they last saw their children. "I am so excited to come home now," says Ka. "My life in Shanghai consists only of work - I do nothing else. You can get used to it, but it is very lonely."

But Kejun's cousin is worried. She is six months pregnant, yet according to the law she shouldn't be. If someone in her village denounces her to the authorities, she will have to pay a huge fine - 600 dollars.

Kejun's uncle Changhong is a head-hunter and it was he who hired Kejun. He's on the lookout for fresh workers for Shanghai's building sites. The younger - and the cheaper - the better for him.

Uncle Changhong's latest recruit is packing for a new life. He will have to leave his wife and his little son behind. "I am very sad to leave my home," he says, "I will miss everything here -- especially my family and my parents. The other workers have told me that you can return home only once a year."


Shanghai - the glittering epicentre of China's boom economy. Xu Chuanruo, a 52-year-old street sweeper, came to Shanghai five years ago, leaving behind his wife and two kids in Hubei province, 1,000km away.

In Shanghai Xu can make up to 1,200 yuan per month -- about $200. In China that's good money -- but this requires a 12-hour day, seven days a week.

Xu lives with seven other people in a single room and sends $100 per month back to his family. He spends what little spare time he has practicing the disappearing art of calligraphy.

Meanwhile in a small workshop a team of migrant workers are making decorations for the New Year's celebrations. The lowest of the low are Zhang Yongqiang and his aunt Zhang Suqing who scavenge for styrofoam scraps.

Communist China has no welfare net for its 100 million migrant workers -- they either work or go hungry. But the garbage collectors say that even a lowly job in Shanghai is better than the poverty of their village.

Yet being a migrant worker doesn't necessarily equal poverty. Yang Mei has been in Shanghai for 12 years and now runs her own restaurant.

All the staff in her restaurant are migrant workers. Many waitresses here are young and a long way from home. 19-year-old Zou Heyan arrived from Szechuan - a 4-day train trip - only about a week ago

"I'm not used to the life here yet," says Zou, "I feel weak like jelly after a day's work. I suffer from diarrhoea as I'm not used to the climate ˇKAt home we didn't have enough to eat. I've experienced hardship, so I can bear a lot."

DVD / 2007 / 27 minutes

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By Du Haibin

The program of economic reforms initiated in China in 1978 by Deng Xiaoping aimed to finance the modernization of the nation. But what Communist Party leaders called "Socialism with Chinese characteristics" looked suspiciously to many as a return to capitalism. Today, some three decades later, the results of those sweeping economic reforms have become plainly visible in a country increasingly divided between its rural and urban sectors.

Filmed in five different regions of China, UMBRELLA provides a telling look at the vast changes that have taken place in Chinese society, including a massive migration from the countryside to the cities, the rise of a prosperous new class of businesspeople, millions of new college graduates competing for a shrinking number of jobs, and the neglect of China's largest population group, its rural peasants.

Filmed in a purely observational style, with no narration or commentary, UMBRELLA shows the workaday life of young employees in a factory in Zhongshan, Guangdong Province, where they engage in monotonous, endlessly and rapidly repeated routines to manufacture umbrellas, for which they are paid a meager piece rate. At a massive shopping mall, the "World's Largest Small Commodity Market," in Yiwu, Zhejiang Province, those multicolored, multipatterned umbrellas are sold at much higher prices by wholesale merchants, who are among China's nouveaux riche.

The film also shows throngs of young people filling out applications at a job fair in Shanghai or undergoing physical drills and ideological regimentation at a provincial garrison of the People's Liberation Army. Finally, on a farm in Luoyang, Henan Province, we watch a group of elderly farmers struggle to salvage a premature harvest of drought-impacted wheat.

UMBRELLA makes sadly apparent the old adage about "the rich becoming richer and the poor becoming poorer," with China's peasant farmers, who are struggling to survive amidst the combined forces of globalization and the new Chinese economy, bearing the brunt of the country's growing pains.

DVD (Color) / 2007 / 93 minutes

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Directed by Will Parrinello

Looks at the lives of three Tibetan exiles, and at the recent history of their country which forced them to flee.

In isolated communities around the world, particularly in India, Nepal and the United States, Tibetan exiles have created a 'virtual Tibet,' where they have endured and even flourished in the face of overwhelming adversity. DREAMING OF TIBET follows their arduous journeys from Tibet into exile over a 19,000 foot Himalayan pass. It's a flight that the Dalal Lama took in 1958 and over 150,000 of his followers have taken since then. Most have only minimal clothing and meager provisions to make the life-threatening trek. Many die along the way.

This intimate documentary is about the resilience of the human spirit under the most dire circumstances. The film looks at the lives of three extraordinary Tibetan exiles who have survived in exile and are deeply involved in working for the survival of their culture. They are, in short, Ms. Tseten Phanucharas, a political activist, who is one of the Dalai Lama's press coordinators in Los Angeles; Ms. Tsering Lhamo, a nurse working with recent refugees in Kathmandu, Nepal; and Mr. Ngawang Ugyen, a monk in the Mt. Everest foothills.

DREAMING OF TIBET captures the difficult challenges they each face and conveys the sense of hope they bring to their day-to-day lives in spite of great hardship and loss.

Also features His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and author/climber Jon Krakauer, with appearances by actors Richard Gere and Goldie Hawn.

DVD (Color) / 2006 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adult) / 58 minutes

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This is a colorful, ironic look at Chinese society as it is being transformed by burgeoning capitalism. After Deng Xiaoping first allowed private enterprise into new industrial zones, untold wealth has accrued to those who once followed Mao's dictates. We meet a former Red Guard who has become a billionaire, and a family in an old Mao commune which is now quoted on the stock exchange and provides each resident with an income without working. Once undreamed-of luxuries are shown off with pride.

What does one call the new system? Market communism or communist capitalism? One thing is certain --there is a growing gap between rich and poor. The super rich worry that the government will raise taxes, while the poor worry about how to feed themselves, get health care and an education for their children. As capitalism spreads from Bejing and Shanghai to the provinces, entrepreneurs strive for the greatest profit.

DVD / 2002 / 28 minutes

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Community in Chengdu, China has organized to clean-up polluted river.

China is already home to a fifth of the world's population. To relieve the pressure on scarce farm land and fragile topsoil, the Chinese government is building four hundred new cities over the next 20 years, each housing over half a million residents. New towns and settlements are springing up from nowhere. Others are witnessing an explosion in their populations, stretching their capacity to deliver essential services to breaking point. This film tells the story of one such town.

Chengdu, in South West China, was once the southern staging post for the silk trade and capital of Shu Kingdom. In 256 BC, Shu leader Li Bing built the Dujiangyan Irrigation System, channeling the Min River through Chengdu in what is still recognized as a triumph for hydraulic engineering. But the irrigation system was neglected and abused during the rapid industrial development of the 1970s, resulting in massive pollution and floods. Today, Chengdu's municipal government has succeeded in reversing the damage, turning what had become an urban nightmare into a model of modern day planning.

DVD (Color) / 2001 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adult) / 27 minutes

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Changes in the lives of four generations of Chinese women.

No women in any country have seen their lives change so radically as have Chinese women. "Women are 'half the sky,'" declared Mao Zedong, "and they are absolutely the equal of men."

Equal they may have been, but by regimentation, to the point of the virtual abolition of womanhood and femininity. Today economic reforms have given young women a degree of independence unknown to any previous generation. For the first time they are conscious and outspoken about their role and position in society, and they make their demands known.

This film explores these changes within the lives of four generations of women in the Jiang family over the last 50 years in China, from the grandmother who was bought by the Jiang family at age 14 to be grandfather's second wife, to her 24-year-old great-granddaughter who works as a sales assistant at the Pierre Cardin boutique in Beijing.

Built around a series of interviews, images of daily life, special family occasions and archival film, HALF THE SKY focuses on the women's individual experiences of marriage, children, work, love, and self-esteem.

DVD (Color) / 1995 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 50 minutes

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