I haven’t been blogging much lately—life, work, and longer-term projects need to come first right now—but finally got a chance a few weeks ago to sit down and write a post for the LA Review of Books China Blog. This is one that I’d been meaning to write for months, ever since seeing two excellent documentary films screened at events in New York:
People’s Park and The Iron Ministry are both challenging and heavily theorized films, the documentary equivalent of an academic monograph. For anyone who has lived in or studied China, they will surely resonate; both contained more than a few moments that brought back memories for me. Audience members without a China connection or interest in documentary filmmaking might find these works less accessible, but my hope is that viewers don’t let themselves be intimidated, as both films are well worth the investment of time and focus. [Director] Sniadecki’s immersive, sensory-intensive approach comes as close as I can imagine is possible to replicating the experience of walking through a Chinese park or riding in a hard-seat train carriage.
Read the rest here.