Release year: 2011
Run time: 88 mins
Film type: Documentary
After completing my previous documentary, The Hungry Village, I returned to my hometown for the first screening of the film with my family. The film was unanimously and fiercely opposed by my family members, including my parents, who were born in the 1950s, my elder brother, born in the 1970s, and my younger brother, born in the 1990s. They were worried that investigating the history of the famine in the village from fifty years ago was dangerous; they also thought that after I had graduated I should find a more stable job instead of interviewing the elderly and making documentaries. I was very much frustrated with my family’s strong objections and had some doubts and wavered over the path I has chosen; at the same time, I had to re-examine myself and do some soul-searching. It was the first time I had confronted my parents and my family in the 25 years since I was born and was also the beginning of my rebellion. Fortunately, against the “high wall” of family opposition, I had a steadfast supporter standing with me—my nine-year old niece. She became my little angel. There were also the old folks I had interviewed; they still unswervingly backed me, even though after watching the film, some of them were afraid that a documentary intent on “exposing the history of the famine” would make China a laughingstock if shown to foreign audiences. Then an old man named Xiling spoke out and persuaded them to support me. It is the second documentary of “my village” series since I got involved with the Folk Memory Project and returned to my hometown to shoot footage, recording the realities I encountered in my search for memories. My biggest question is: after experiencing the disaster of the tragic famine fifty years ago, the villagers now are not short of food, and are living a better life than before—but is the spirit of this village still starving?
Zou Xueping was born in 1985 in Binzhou, Shandong Province, where she returned to shoot two documentaries, including this one. She graduated in 2009 from the China Academy of Fine Arts and was a resident artist at Wu Wenguang’s Caochangdi Workstation. In addition to three documentaries, Zou has written a theatre piece, Family Opposition (2011), and performed with the Living Dance Studio.