VIFF Centre Screening
Filmed across 51 locations in China, Jessica Kingdon’s remarkable Ascension takes the pulse of the "Chinese Dream", particularly as it relates to work, production, and the economic divide. In other words: class. Influenced by Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi and the pioneering Berlin: Symphony of a City, Kingdon builds her argument not through voice over, but through observation and montage: a work fair where companies pitch their production lines, some with air conditioning (!), and jobs starting at $2.50 an hour; a sex doll factory where tasks include ironing buttocks and tinting nipples; and a sales workshop where we learn that the correct number of teeth to reveal in your smile is eight and unpack the western practice of hugging ("The principle of hugging is that you cooperate when someone hugs you"). Alien as some of this may sound, the film’s primary inquiry into the nature of 21st Century capitalism pertains well beyond the borders of China.
"Mesmerizing… arresting and horrifying." Carlos Aguilar, Rogerebert.com
"A terrific documentary… an often beautiful industrial symphony." Daniel Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter
Best Documentary Feature, Tribeca 2021
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