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Moving the Well

Li Ning

Release year: 2016

Run time: 126 mins

Film type: Experimental Film


In Bandaojing village, in the southeast corner of Jinan, instead of planting crops, the farmers "planted" houses and waited for compensation from the government. Every family took part in the process, which became increasingly fierce. In ten years, hundreds of buildings were "planted", forming a spectacular sight. Over the years, Li Ning set up three classes of people, ceaselessly inputting manpower and material resources here. Li Ning wanted to be the witness of the village's disappearance and to capture the memory of it. Constantly exploring the spaces and occupants. The end result will be a short film with multiple chapters run together, showing different levels of and perspectives on this strange, end-of-world, village. It could be described as a new “collection of bizarre stories”, capturing the eerie reality of China's current "new countryside" and the modern rituals of the land.


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.