Out of Focus
- Cinéma du Réel
- China Women's Film Festival | *Grand Jury Prize*
- Filmpodium Zurich
- Spaces of Education Film Festivalette CIES 2017
"A viewpoint in both the panoptical and cinematographic sense of the term. Vertical or horizontal, the camera’s panning shots are a recurrent figure of style in a documentary that strives to link the high andlow — the horizon seen from the roof and the over-laden domestic interiors —, the here and the elsewhere — the seething urban life that surprises the rural children and the deserted calm of their villages." -Cinéma du Réel
A companion piece to "Another Year", this documentary offers a harsh and unsettled portrait of poverty and urbanism through the sobering point of view of "migrant children" in today's China.
On a steamy summer day director Shengze Zhu ("Another Year") began to teach photography at Lingzhi Elementary School in Wuhan, China with a group of 23 “migrant children” aged 8-12, since then both the children and the filmmaker used cameras to explore. Lingzhi is known as the “rooftop” school, because its classes are held in a worn-down, four-floor apartment building with a rooftop playground for about 200 students. All of them are “migrant children” who are originally from rural areas but come with their job seeking parents to urban cities in search of a better life.
When those children migrated to the most populous city in Central China from the tranquil countryside, most of them fell in love with the bustling city, Wuhan at their first glance. They were intrigued by the city life, and tried to get away from the poor family and the genetic past. They were ambitious about the future and had various dreams. Nevertheless, they had to endure miserable living conditions due to the low income of their families and a discriminatory household registration policy known as Hukou. The distance between the innocence of hopes and the brutality of life seems to remind that - would their dreams become pipe dreams?