High Tech, Low Life (2013)
HIGH TECH, LOW LIFE follows the journey of two of China's first citizen reporters as they travel the country - chronicling underreported news and social issues stories. Armed with laptops, cell phones, and digital cameras they develop skills as independent one-man news stations while learning to navigate China's evolving censorship regulations and avoiding the risk of political persecution. The film follows 57-year-old "Tiger Temple," who earns the title of China's first citizen reporter after he impulsively documents an unfolding murder and 27-year-old "Zola" who recognizes the opportunity to increase his fame and future prospects by reporting on sensitive news throughout China. From the perspective of vastly different generations, Zola and Tiger Temple must both reconcile an evolving sense of individualism, social responsibility and personal sacrifice. The juxtaposition of Zola's coming-of-age journey from produce vendor to internet celebrity, and Tiger Temple's commitment to understanding China's tumultuous past provides an alternate portrait of China and of news-gathering in the 21st century. (c) IFC Films … More
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Critic Reviews for High Tech, Low Life
Maing's own camera captures the busy, rich and revealing life around them, with interested openness and visual intelligence.
"High Tech, Low Life" (not a good title) has a nice easy rhythm. It feels neither hurried nor emphatic.
An engaging study of the disparate characters who are drawn to speak out when the authorities crack the whip.
High Tech, Low Life ostensibly examines censorship of the Internet and news media in China. But the pic is driven less by its subject matter than by its two very different and utterly fascinating bloggers.
We leave the film with no idea how many people are doing this in China, where these two stand within the online community, and whether state media outlets have changed at all in response to them.
Whatever their orientation, both men are intrepid in pursuing the truth, the consequences of which are made clear in a series of terrifying late-film crackdowns.
A narrow, albeit intriguing window into a technological revolt that deserves a more far-reaching film than this one.
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