THIS JOURNAL DOCUMENTS MY INTAKE OF ONE BOOK, ZINE, CD OR DVD A DAY. RATINGS ARE: ***** = Godhead, **** = Great, *** = Good, ** = Fair, * = Why Bother?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Young & Restless in China (****)

Young & Restless in China
directed by Sue Williams
Frontline, PBS Television, 120 minutes
Air date: 9-11 p.m., June 17, 2008

Synopsis: "FRONTLINE explores the generation coming of age in China today. Shot over four years, the film follows a group of nine young Chinese from across the country as they scramble to keep pace with a society changing as fast as any in history. Their stories of ambition and desire, exuberance, crime and corruption are interwoven with moments of heartache and despair. Together they paint an intimate portrait of the generation that is remaking China."

This intimate look into the lives of nine young people living in the midst of the "new" China's economic boom was on Frontline tonight and it was great, reminding me of Michael Apted's 7 UP series in the way it followed the personal lives and careers of a particular generation in a particular culture over the course of several years. It's not available on DVD as of yet, but you can watch it online at Frontline's website. I was particularly amused by the segment on Chinese rapper Wang Xiaolei (aka MC Sir), who looks a little like a young Jet Li dressed in FUBA gear. Everything Xiaolei knows about the West comes from our Pop Culture, mainly urban hip-hop fashion and music. In fact, he's criticized in China for using "too much" English in his raps, though his subject matter is decidedly Chinese. You can hear some of Xiaolei's songs, as well as other Chinese pop music, on the Modern Sky Records website.

The other principles are migrant worker Wei Zhanyan, rural housewife Yang Haiyan, Christian Internet-based tailoring company owner Lu Dong, Internet cafe entrepreneur/consultant Ben Wu, public interest lawyer Zhang Jingjing, hotel owner Xu Weiman, marketing executive Miranda Hong and medical resident Zhang Yao.

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