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Baobao and Beibei

Hu Jie

Release year: 2003

Run time: 30 mins

Film type: Documentary


Baobao and Beibei are twins and live in Nanjing. When they were three-and-a-half years old, their parents were laid off. To secure their the children's future, their parents choose for Baobao and Beibei to be gymnast, because the school sports coach had praised them.

In order to train sports stars, amateur sports schools conduct cruel training on young children. Parents also have to obey the coach’s request and force their children to practice exercises. They believe that sports are a fair competition, and, as long as they are hard-hearted and push their children to the top, they will have bright prospects. Baobao and Beibei spent their childhood training like this. Their ideal is to participate in the Olympics, win gold medals for their country, and buy a house for their parents.

In order to support their children in sports school, the couple opened a snack bar. Four years later, Baobao and Beibei finally reached the podium, winning the provincial junior gymnastics team championship. However, their parents encountered a problem: sports school tuition was rising, and cost more than they could afford, while they lacked the personal connections to join a professional team for free. The dreams of the two laid-off workers were shattered by reality; Baobao and Beibei had to go to gymnastics teams in different regions, become sparring partners for others. With the passage of time, the twins lose training opportunities to become stars, and waste study time because of their long-term absence from school.


Director biography

Hu Jie is an independent historian, artist, and filmmaker. Born in Jinan, Shandong in 1958, he graduated from the Art College of the People’s Liberation Army. He works in oils and woodcuts from his lakeside studio in Nanjing. His films are among the most important documents of China’s unacknowledged “unoffcial history”, and include Looking for Lin Zhao’s Soul (2005), about a martyr-poet critic of Mao; and Though I Am Gone (2007), about an elite Beijing girls’ high school whose students murdered their headmaster at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution.