Our columnist Zhu Rikun’s new film No Desire to Hide (2021) has been chosen to compete with another fifteen films for the award for the most notable international documentary film at the 25th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival, taking place in the Czech Republic between 26 October and 31 October 2021. This is the only Chinese-language film that has entered its international competition section ‘Opus Bonum’ this year.
The film is about a young couple, Wu Haohao and Ge Ningning, living in a big city in today’s China. Haohao describes himself as a video producer who shoots mainly erotic videos for social media, and a communist who worships Mao Zedong and admires the Cultural revolution. His dream is to emigrate to the United States and to promote his communist ideals in New York. Ningning likes to dance and paint, and has performed in many films made by Haohao and others but has failed to receive any recognition. The couple agrees to maintain an open relationship, each with their own lovers. Their relationship eventually reaches crisis point, with both of them feeling bleak about their prospects.
Responding to the question ‘is there any one documentary that you are particularly excited about?’ in an interview the day before the festival on the 26th , the festival chief and founder Marek Hovorka said, ‘I’m very happy that we have a chance to screen the Chinese film No Desire to Hide, by director, but also producer of independent Chinese films Zhu Rikun’. He commented that this film is about relationships in general but based in contemporary China.
While the film will be screened at the festival on 28 October, Zhu Rikun has also published a new column titled ‘Communist Successor Wu Haohao’ on the CIFA website. In this column, Zhu briefly talks about the origins of this documentary and then presents an in-depth interview that he conducted with Wu Haohao on 18 December 2020. In this interview, we can observe further this interesting yet contradictory character that has been portrayed vividly in the film, as well as the social and ideological environment in contemporary China that has shaped him.