Ai Weiwei’s Ping’An Yueqing
Cinema on the Edge Tour Organizer Karin Chien In Person
presented by San Francisco Cinematheque and Cinema on the Edge in association with the Center for Asian American Media and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
This is Program 1 of China Now, an all-day, three-program series of contemporary independent film from China. Full details on this series is available here.
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Ping’An Yueqing (2011) by Ai Weiwei: The documentaries produced by Ai Weiwei’s studio are closer to investigative journalism than to conceptual art. This film in particular starts from a specific case, the mysterious death by “road accident” of a village leader, Qian Yunhui from Zhejiang province, an activist who stood up for his fellow villagers when their land was confiscated without compensation by the local government. Qian’s death in 2010 quickly became a cause célèbre online in China. Ai and his team take up the challenge of determining what really happened, and dig deep into the land dispute lying behind what looks like the convenient murder of a rights advocate. The story unfolds like a thriller, but an ultra-realist one, with terrified villagers, government media spectacles, conflicting stories and a mysteriously disappearing surveillance video.
image above: Ai Weiwei: Ping’An Yueqing (2011)