Skip to content

Questioning

Zhu Rikun

Release year: 2013

Run time: 21 mins

Film type: Documentary

Synopsis

On July 24, 2012, Rikun Zhu opened the door of his hotel room to find police officers standing there, at least eight of them. While driving earlier that day, he had noticed that he was being followed by officers in plain clothes. Zhu is a human rights activist, and he knew he could count on a hostile reception in Jiangxi province. Other activists have been beaten up here, arrested for no reason and even tortured. So when there was a knock on his door at midnight, he turned on a camera placed on his bedside table before seeing who was there. With the excuse of a "room inspection," the horde of policemen barges in. Zhu lights a cigarette. A flabby policeman then walks in, waving his badge. He wants to see some ID, but that turns out to be easier said than done.

 

Director biography

Born in 1976 in Guangdong, of Hakka descent, Zhu Rikun studied finance at Peking University's Guanghua School of Management from 1996 to 2000. In 2001, he founded Fanhall Films (Fanhall.com, Fanhall Art Centre), focusing on independent film production, distribution, and exhibition. He has produced and distributed milestone works in Chinese independent cinema. In 2003, he founded the China Documentary Film Festival. From 2006 to 2012, Zhu Rikun served as the artistic director of the Li Xianting Film Fund, continuing to organize the China Documentary Film Festival and the Beijing Independent Film Forum, which later merged into the Beijing Independent Film Festival (BIFF). He has served as a jury member at various film festivals, including the Locarno International Film Festival, Hong Kong International Film Festival, St. Petersburg Message to Man, Seoul Digital Film Festival, and Rome Asian Film Festival. He has also been a visiting researcher at Keio University in Japan and a visiting curator at the Burns Film Center in New York, USA. Zhu Rikun has edited two books, "Cinematic Impulse" and "Independent Records," both focusing on Chinese independent cinema and documentary films.

Director's statement

Early in the morning on July 24, 2012, after meeting some friends in Hongkong, I drove a car of my brother back to Shenzhen and got Guo Feixiong and three other friends who take part in human rights protection to the car and went on driving to Xinyu, Jiangxi Province to cheer Liu Ping and two other local independent candidates. They have been oppressed by the government and the police for taking part in the election and other human rights protection events.

We hurried to Xinyu before dawn on July 25. By the time dawn broke, we found a hotel and put our luggage there, then we went to meet Liu Ping and others, went to see a lake where Liu had been imprisoned nearby, and interviewed them about their experiences. While doing these things, we found ourselves tailed. At 11 o'clock at night, we came back to the hotel, there were some police cars and a group of policemen scattering by the building. The owner of the hotel came to us in a hurry and told us that the police had already been into our room before, and said it had never happened before. At 12 o'clock at night, some policemen came to our room and started the so-called 'room inspection.'

As they began to knock at the door, I turned on a small camcorder which was prepared in advance. This short film is the record of such a moment.

Awards:

  • 2013 Cinéma du Réel, Festival international de films documentaires, International Short Film Competition Special Mention
  • 2013 Italian Documentary Film Festival, Porpori, Best Short Film,
  • 2014 Edinburgh International Short Film Festival, UK, Best Film
  • 2014 Hong Kong Independent Video and Short Film Festival Winner