Watch “China’s Van Goghs” a feature documentary film by Haibo Yu & Kiki Tianqi Yu at the Summer Film Club at the DOCUSPACE online cinema.
Viewing days: till 16 August
Until the end of the summer, DOCU/CLUB will delight you with the new film collection. You can watch the new films as part of the Summer Film Club at the DOCUSPACE online cinema.
director: Yu Haibo, Yu Tianqi Kiki
Netherlands, China 2016 81’
Until 1989, the village of Dafen in the city of Shenzhen, China was little more than a hamlet. It now has a population of 10,000, including hundreds of peasants-turned oil painters. In the many studios, and even in the alleyways, Dafen’s painters turn out thousands of replicas of world-famous Western paintings, sometimes creating 700 artworks per month. In 2015, the turnover in painting sales was over $65 million. Nobody thinks anything of an order for 200 Van Goghs. To meet their deadlines, painters sleep on the floor between clotheslines strung with masterpieces.
Directors Yu Haibo and Kiki Tianqi Yu, followed one of the painters, Xiaoyong Zhao. He and his family have painted around 100,000 Van Goghs. After all these years, Zhao feels a deep affinity with Van Gogh. Having never seen van Gogh’s original paintings, Zhao’s biggest dream is to travel to Amsterdam to see the works of his legendary associate. After struggling and saving, he fulfils dream. In Europe, his encounter with van Gogh’s paintings brings an epiphany. Although dejected at the revelation, Zhao is inspired by van Gogh’s paintings and the hardships he suffered, and resolves to dedicate himself to his own original art, searching for his own authentic voice in order to be true to the spirit of his hero and mentor – Vincent can Gogh. China’s van Goghs not only presents how this painter pursues his dream, but also tells the human story of challenge and struggle during the journey, emblematic of the journey that China is going through from ‘made in China’ to ‘Created in China’.
Director and Cinematographer:
YU Haibo 余海波 is a filmmaker and a well-known Chinese social photographer. He’s the Director of Shenzhen Professional Photographers Association and the Chief Photo Editor of Shenzhen Economic Daily. Yu is the pioneer in surrealism photography in China for his work “on the other riverside of the illusion chain” which won the top prize at the 15th National Photography Exhibition in 1988. Since 1989, he has been working on documentary photography, and his photo stories including “Tibet”, “Music Youth”, “China’s urban expansion”, have won many prizes and been exhibited internationally. Yu published a book Living in China’s Shenzhen (2008), and a photo-essay film One Man’s Shenzhen (2012).
Producer and co-director:
Kiki Tianqi Yu 余天琦 is a filmmaker, scholar, film curator. She worked as associate professor of Film Studies at USC-SJTU Institute of Cultural and Creative Industry, base in Shanghai. Her other award-winning films include Photographing Shenzhen (2007) (Discovery), and nonfiction moving image work Memory of Home (2009) collected by DSLCollection, Tube (2008) and Children of Tibet (2007). Kiki’s research focuses on documentary theory, practice and industry, essayistic nonfiction, amateur cinema and cultural memories, Chinese cinemas and artist moving image. She is the daughter of Yu Haibo.