Skip to content

Journal of Life in j-Town

Li Ning

Release year: 2000

Run time: 50 mins

Film type: Documentary


"Death to all who are alive!"
This film is composed of five sections: "Preface", "Have your memory", "Mr H", "Dislocation... chain", "One has one’s pain".
These five sections complete the body narrative.


Director biography

Li Ning, born in 1972, is a theatre and film director, a physical education researcher and practitioner, and a curator.
He graduated from the Fine Arts Education Department of Shandong Art Academy, specializing in sculpture. In 1997, he founded The Physical Guerrillas, a group engaged in the creation of physical theatre and live performance art, performed at home and abroad.
As an artist, he has created a large number of theatre and film works, many of which have become classics of contemporary Chinese physical theatre and video art, and he is also recognized as a representative of these two fields.
He was invited to perform, or to exhibit, exchange and to create, at the Julidans Art Festival in Amsterdam and the Culturescapes Festival in Switzerland. Since 2010, he has also been invited to participate in the creation of the French Limitrophe Company, a situational drama group, which has toured the Festival d’Aurillac, the Ghent Art Festival in Belgium, the Stoke Art Festival in the UK, and the Wuzhen Theatre Festival, among others.
As an experimental film director, his famous works Tape and Untitled-3 have been collected by dozens of university libraries, art galleries, and museums in the United States. Li Ning has received funding from various national foundations many times to complete his theatre and film works, such as the Dutch Done Foundation (which supported Li Ning and The Physical Guerrillas for 3 years, in 2006, 2007, 2008), and the EU cultural project Chin-A-Moves, as well as the China Independent Film Fund Indie Cinema Fund and so on.
As a curator, he presided over and participated in the operation of the Jinan Fangyu Art Festival, the Weifang Village Theatre Festival, the International Factory Theatre Festival Laiwu, and other platforms to improve China's ecology of art and literary.

Director's statement

"j-Town " refers to Jinan—"a grey city ".
At the end of the year 2000,
Using the "clip and paste" method with a substandard device,
I made my first "movie" with great difficulty and great interest,
which realized my desire to express images that I had suppressed for many years.
I describe my life and the city I live in black and white;
Every monologue has been in my heart for years,
The relationship between the body parts of each character are naturally formed in daily life.
This film gave me my first taste of directing.
Journal of Life in j-Town, though childish, can be seen as an exercise in preparation for Tape.
Many directions and techniques planted seeds for more mature and in-depth expression in the future.