Document 2019 Present. Perfect.
Sat 26 October 2019
The Western circuit of vloggers and YouTubers is dwarfed by live-streaming in China, which in a short time has become an industry worth billions. More than 422 million Chinese regularly shared streamed films in 2017. The strange and extreme are especially popular: a boy who eats live worms or two wrestlers dipped in wet paint. Viewers comment in the form of 'bullets' and reward the 'anchors' with virtual gifts that can be cashed in the real world.
Artist Zhu Shengze spent ten months following anchors with more marginal followings, editing more than 800 hours of footage to fashion a collective portrait of a generation for whom the online and offline worlds are tightly interwoven.
The Chinese censor has now clamped down on the phenomenon, and thousands of virtual showrooms have been closed. The rest perform self-censorship. Live streaming is completely apolitical, but the lives that are presented say a lot about contemporary Chinese society and its shortcomings.
Supported by the Confucius Institute
Zhu Shengze | USA, Hong Kong | 2019 | 124m
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