This programme of short documentaries takes an intimate look at a selection of cultural practices and daily lives in contemporary China, from the foothills of the Great Wall, to the lakes of the North, just outside of Beijing. Together they document and showcase a cross-section of life in a rapidly changing country.
The documentaries in this selection look at the artistic traditions of Shamanic music and the artisanal making of alcoholic spirits, weaving these practices into the histories and geographies of their varied regions. They also astutely observe the significant changes that Mainland China is currently undergoing through its construction of brand new cities with sustainability and ecological protection built into their design, or through a nuanced depiction of life in communities living in the shadow of the tourism boom around the Great Wall.
Showcasing the work of up-and-coming documentarians and visual anthropologists, these films were created as part of “Looking China”, a programme facilitated by the Confucius Institute in collaboration with Beijing Normal University. We will be screening four films in this programme, all of which were directed by students at the University of Manchester:
In the Shadow of the Wall (Dir. Lydia Anne Howe)
The Journey of Lake Baiyangdian (Dir. Will Hayter)
The Spirit Maker (Dir. Jemma O’Brien)
The Way of the Shaman Drum (Dir. João Meirinhos)