Young & Restless in China (2008)
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The Chinese economy grew at a fantastic rate in the first years of the 21st century, offering new possibilities but also presenting new challenges to its people, and filmmaker Sue Williams offers a portrait of a nation in flux as she chronicles the lives of a handful of people in their twenties and thirties in this documentary. Lu Dong and Ben Wu are two people who left China seeking greater opportunities and later came home to take advantage of the nation's booming economy, and though both have found success -- Lu founded a clothing company and Ben runs an Internet coffee shop -- they've also discovered how hard it is to keep up in China's newly fast-paced society. Xu Weimin was a student activist during the Tiananmen Square demonstrations of 1989, but he turned his back on politics to become an entrepreneur, opening a chain of hotels while looking after his ailing mother and combative family. Zhang Jingjing is another activist who has become a legal advocate for the homeless, a job that's become especially difficult with a million and a half people in Beijing left with nowhere to live thanks to construction for the 2008 Olympics. Zhang Yao is a doctor who tries to find the time and resources to care for the nearly three-quarters of the Chinese population without health insurance. And Wang Xiaolei is a hip-hop artist whose verses cast a cynical eye on the rise of capitalism in China. Young & Restless in China was aired by PBS as part of the news and public affairs series Frontline. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Young & Restless in China
[Director Sue] Williams should have used subtitles, rather than Western voices, to translate the words of her talking heads. Still, her film is a timely look at the massive changes overtaking China.
Almost everything experienced by the nine, who appear to be in their 20s and 30s, is garden-variety living and learning.
Young & Restless In China is the first of a planned five-part series that will follow nine diverse Chinese citizens over the course of 20 years.
At its best, Young & Restless in China plays like a prosaic complement to the films of Jia Zhangke.
Williams's multi-thread portrait is fascinating only as a scattershot, time-capsule sampling of those whose lives were defined by the Tiananmen Square protests.
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