Petition (2011) - Rotten Tomatoes

Petition (2011)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

The last decade has brought an extraordinary wave of remarkable documentaries from China, many of them revealing the social and political transformations thathave occurred as the country has become an economic giant, and that have often taken a grave toll on the lives of its citizens. PETITION, filmed over the course of more than 10 years, is among the very finest of these often heroic attempts to bear witness. Since 1996, Zhao has documented the 'petitioners' who come from all over China to make complaints in Beijing about abuses committed by their local authorities. Gathered near the complaint offices, living in most cases in makeshift shelters, the complainants wait for months or years to obtain justice. Peasants thrown off their land, workers from factories which have gone into liquidation, small homeowners who have seen their houses demolished but received no compensation, they pursue justice with unceasingstubbornness, facing the most brutal intimidation and most often finding that their hopes are in vain. Unfolding like a novel by Zola or Dickens, but with the existential absurdity of Beckett, PETITION reveals the persistent contradictions of China in the midst of powerful economic expansion. --© Anthology Archivesmore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Drama, Art House & International
Directed By:
In Theaters:
3 Shadows


Zhao Liang
as Narrator

News & Interviews for Petition

Critic Reviews for Petition

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (3)

A brave and wrenching new documentary from China

Full Review… | January 14, 2011
New York Times
Top Critic

This guerrilla-cinema essay is more than just a look at China's judicial morass; it's a dispatch from the front lines of a dictatorship.

Full Review… | January 12, 2011
Time Out
Top Critic

A concert of stifled voices that, together, are a brave and angry cry for democratic representation and the rule of law.

Full Review… | January 10, 2011
New Yorker
Top Critic

Sad and sobering account of human-rights violations in modern-day China.

Full Review… | January 18, 2011
Film Journal International

epic and ambitious

Full Review… | January 13, 2011

A film that shows how China's poor go through a Kafkaesque nightmare in a largely futile effort to get justice through Beijing's petition offices. Nominally ombudsmen, these offices largely serve to prevent justice from taking place.

Full Review… | January 13, 2011

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