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PETITION

by Zhao Liang

synopsis

A unique testimony about China today. Since 1996 Zhao Liang has filmed the “petitioners”, who come from all over China to make complaints in Beijing about abuses and injustices committed by the local authorities. Gathered near the complaints offices, around the southern railway station of Beijing, living in most cases in makeshift shelters, the complainants wait for months or years to obtain justice. Peasants thrown off their land, workers from factories which have gone into liquidation, small homeowners who have seen their houses demolished but received no compensation..., all types of cases are represented. Faced with the most brutal intimidation from the local authorities, the complainants who stubbornly continue despite everything find that their hopes are often vain. Zhao Liang has accompanied several of them, particularly a mother and her daughter, whose full story we follow over ten years. A film shot right up to the start of the Olympic Games in direct contact with realities, showing the persistent contradictions of China in the midst of powerful economic expansion.

international title: Petition
original title: Petition
country: China, France
year: 2009
genre: documentary
directed by: Zhao Liang
film run: 124'
cinematography by: Zhao Liang
film editing: Zhao Liang, Sylvie Blum, Bruno Barwise, Shun Zi
production: INA - Institut National de l'Audiovisuel, ARTE France Cinéma, Three Shadows (CN)
backing: Arte/ZDF

main awards/selection

Cannes 2009 Official Selection - Out of Competition
cinando

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