Located in central Beijing to the South West of the Tian’anmen Square, Meishi Street was a bustling residential area in a working class neighbourhood. In 2005, like many neighbourhoods in central Beijing, the street was torn down to make room for new real estate and tourism developments in conjunction with the 2008 Beijing Olympic games. Zhang Jianli, one of the residents and a restaurant owner, collaborated with the visual artist Ou Ning to document the neighborhood’s demolition. Receiving a video camera from Ou to document his experiences, Zhang used the camera creatively as a depository of personal confessions, a weapon for confronting the police, and a device to preserve memories of the place. The resulting film offers a “bottom-up” perspective on Beijing’s urban transformations, capturing the struggles and experiences of people whose lives are displaced and violated by a state and capital driven reconfiguration of the city.The screening will be followed by a short discussion with the director Ou Ning.
This film is also part of the Season Three Asia and the Pacific Screens: Survival Politics, sponsored by the Australian Centre on China in the World.
Directed by Ou Ning
2006, 85 mins
Mandarin Chinese with English subtitles