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Nanfang TV: Documentary filmmaker follows “The Girl from Guangzhou”

Posted: 07/30/2013 5:11 pm

There have been hundreds of books published about societal change in China and its impact on all kinds of groups, from migrants to women to business people to sex workers. But few have documented the birth, childhood, and burgeoning adulthood of a single person as they navigate a rapidly changing China.

Bruno Sorrentino has answered that call with his new film “Kay Kay: The Girl from Guangzhou”. The film was actually released late last year, but it came to our attention today after circulating on Sina Weibo.  Sorrentino set out in 1992 to document the lives of children from birth to adulthood, and has tracked several children in his work.  He said the result is a kind of “time-lapse” of our planet.

There are few places that have changed more than China in the past 20 years (and Guangzhou in particular), so this provides an added dimension to the film.  He writes Guangzhou was a fascinating backdrop:

Guangzhou was one of China’s most rapidly industrialising cities. The impact on Kay Kay’s development and that of her family was to be the theme of my film spanning her first 20 years of life.

Her mother Cheung was (and still is) a truck driver for the Yangtang Dairy Farm Enterprise.

Like everything else in China, the company was growing rapidly and Cheung only stopped work briefly after her baby was born.

I first met Kay Kay in a narrow four-storey building which was home to four generations of the family. She had only just returned from the natal clinic and her grandparents and great grandparents were clearly thrilled with new baby.

“That is the best – having only one child,” Cheung beamed, in tune with China’s one-child policy. “Now we have got our baby, we are really happy.”

Her husband Liang added: “We hope that we all prosper under socialism. The country is urging us to catch up with the four mini dragons.”

Kay Kay’s family was a model family of communist China in 1992.

He writes Guangzhou has (obviously) changed a lot since then, now becoming one of the most “agreeable” cities in which to live.

But such a rapid transformation creates a unique and difficult environment for Kay Kay and her parents, which is on full display in the film.

You can watch the entire documentary below.  Let us know what you think.

  • Sebastian

    Absolutely stunning documentary.

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