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The Tale of Two Villages

Zhong Chen

Release year: 2007

Run time: 109 mins

Film type: Documentary


In contemporary China, the system of one person, one vote exists only in the elections of village committee directors, which is part of China's grassroots democratic system, known as "village self-governance." This film is divided into two parts, documenting the process of village elections and self-governance in two different villages, serving as a microcosm of grassroots democracy in China in the early 21st century. The first part depicts the complete process of village director elections in a village located in northeastern China. The second part showcases the challenging journey of village self-governance led by a young farmer named Yang Yunbiao in a southern region of China.


Director biography

Xinzhong Chen, also known as Zhong Chen in English, was born in Chengdu, Sichuan, China in the 1970s. He graduated from the Department of Engineering Mechanics at Tsinghua University in China, earning a Bachelor's degree in Engineering. In the 1990s, fueled by his passion for photography and videography, he made a career change and joined Chengdu TV station. In 1998, he was awarded a full assistantship from Temple University's film department in the United States, which enabled him to pursue comprehensive film education. In 2003, he earned an MFA degree in film production. Zhong Chen's works have been selected for more than 100 international film festivals and have garnered numerous awards. He has been invited to deliver lectures at various esteemed universities in the United States, including Northwestern University, Stanford University, University of Paris VII in France, Lund University in Sweden, and several universities in China. Furthermore, he has served as a guiding lecturer at the Odense International Short Film Festival's master class in Denmark. Currently, he resides in Chengdu, China, and works as a freelancer.