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People's Republic of Desire Image

People's Republic of Desire

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Hold on tight for a dazzling, harrowing trip down the digital rabbit hole. With over 300-million users, the Chinese live-streaming platform YY has the power to transform the very modestly talented into much-adored superstars who can earn tens of thousands of dollars a month in tips from their loyal armies of diaosi—the isolated, self-described "losers" who flock to the site to squander their meagre incomes. Singing off-key pop songs, telling lame jokes and basking in one’s ordinariness seems to be all it takes to make it big in this brave new world.

Playing like an extended and deeply unsettling episode of Black Mirror, this stylishly crafted doc portrays a dystopia where all human interactions are mediated and monetized through social media platforms, and the value of an individual life is determined by clicks and cash. Winner of the top doc prize at SXSW, this is a disturbing but never less than fascinating film.

"Tragic and terrifying in equal measure… Wu’s fascinating, deeply alarming film ushers us into a bold new world where our pleasure is simulated, but our pain is real."—David Ehrlich, IndieWire

Grand Jury Prize, Documentary, SXSW 18


Director Hao Wu
Country of Origin: USA/China
Year: 2018
Running Time: 95 mins
Format: DCP
Language:In Chinese with English subtitles
Executive Producer: Jean Tsien, Sally Jo Fifer, Lois Vossen
Producer: Hao Wu
Cinematographer: Hao Wu
Editor: Hao Wu
Music: Michael Tuller
Distributor: Cinetic Media, LLC

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