‘I think my films all originate from my plight. They are all done in extremely difficult conditions.’

Born 1975, Urumqi, Xinjiang. Lives and works in Beijing,

Ju Anqi is one of the most widely recognized directors from China’s “New Generation” of filmmakers and multi-media artists; his experimental films have been exhibited in the Centre Pompidou (Paris), MoMA (New York) and Lincoln Center (New York) and at film festivals worldwide. In 2001, Ju Anqi went on a month-long journey home to Xinjiang, on China’s far north-western frontier, to visit his parents. En route the idea came to him to make a road movie about ‘life, feelings and lust’, centred around a travelling poet. The result is the remarkable black and white road movie, Poet on a Business Trip, shot in 2002 but not released until 2015.  During their epic 40-day journey, hitchhiking with long-distance truck drivers or enduring crowded local buses, traversing highways and dusty backroads under the vast skies of the Uyghur Autonomous Region, the poet, Shu, wrote 16 poems that punctuate the film like chapters of a book. In between writing lyrical verse, the poet and the film-maker seek out prostitutes in karaoke bars and brothels in each new village or primitive truck-stop. A Missing Policeman (2016) co-starred over 20 contemporary artists from China, including megastars such as Ding Yi, Fang Lijun, Wang Guangyi, Zhang Xiaogang, Xiao Lu, Xu Bing, critic Li Xianting and scholar Wu Hung . Ju’s plot summary: Beijing, Summer 1983. A group of young artists gathers in the hutongs for a dance party at the home of one of their friends when a policeman happens upon the scene. In the rigid times just after the Cultural Revolution, harsh punishments were dealt to those participating in activities deemed illegal. Several others had already been sentenced to execution by firing squad or been dealt life without parole for hosting similar parties. The policeman insists on arresting the young artists, and in a fit of panic they beat him unconscious, deciding later to dig an underground prison where they keep him from then on. For thirty-three years, the artists guard the policeman in shifts. Over these thirty-three years, China goes through a massive transformation unbeknownst to the policeman until the summer of 2016 when he escapes…

 



 

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