CHINA / 2009 / Chinese / B&W / Video / 58 min
Director, Editing: Huang Weikai
Editing Assistant: Xiao Fang
Camera (Photographers who provided the original material): Chen Cai, Huang Mu, Lu Ren, Xiao Xin, Zhu Yu, Zhu Chun, Zeng Rui, Zhang Shi
Additional Photography: Huang Shuqiu, Triumph
Producer: Wen Da
Assistant Producer: Zoe Zeng
Production Company: Huang Weikai Digital Filmmaking Studio
Source: Huang Weikai
Amateur news footage combines in a collage of 20 “incidents”: a pig on the road, a fire, an abandoned child, an accident, arrests . . . As the film channel-surfs between incidents, afterimages accumulate. The meticulously edited images and sounds reveal the disorderly texture and character of the city of Guangzhou, along with the (sensationalized and indifferent) functioning of society. The process of a city's transformation and the fragments of human life it leaves in its wake reverberate in a quiet rumbling of the earth, against a backdrop of white noise.
[Director’s Statement] Every day in China in nearly every big city, amateur DV camera people roam the streets, watching over every corner for a soul-stirring event. They sell their footage to local television stations, to be broadcast as news that captures the lives of the masses. Some of these amateurs make a living from this work. Winning the trust of the public security bureaus, fire departments, city management, traffic police, emergency rooms, and public health departments, they obtain first-hand information. These amateur reporters are treated better than professional reporters and granted access to the front lines of news events. The footage they shoot is very different from the usual news on TV and in the press.
Beginning in 2007, I collected DV footage from these camera people for two years, having decided to weave an urban symphony from the material. Previous documentaries that adopted the style of an urban symphony, such as Walter Ruttmann’s Berlin, Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera, and Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi, generally used no actual sounds from the cities. But I have used no music whatsoever. This is because this “urban symphony” is a tapestry of real sounds and events.
Born in 1972 in Guangdong Province. From the age of 10, Huang studied Chinese painting for 15 years. In 1995, he graduated from the Chinese art department at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. He has worked as a film promoter, art editor, graphic designer, movie scriptwriter, and cameraman. Since 2002, he has been directing independent films.
His documentaries include Disorder, which was selected as an Asian Network of Documentary Fund project at the Pusan International Film Festival and won a Young Jury Award special mention at Cinéma du Réel; Floating (2005), which won the Black Pottery Prize and Audience Award at the Yunnan Multi Culture Visual Festival and the New Filmmaker Award at the Reel China Documentary Biennial. His filmography as documentary cameraman includes San Yuan Li (2003), commissioned by the Venice Biennale, and Meishi Street (2006), which was invited to the International Istanbul Biennial.