The film opens on the morning of December 8th, 2007, in Karamay’s Xiaoxihu cemetery. Daybreak casts a cold grey light over faraway mountains and the Gobi sands. As the camera moves from grave to grave, it zeroes in on the photographs encased in glass on every tombstone. All are of children. Exactly 13 years ago, Karamay’s Friendship Hall was the site of a horrible tragedy: nearly 800 grade and middle-school students and their teachers, hand-picked to entertain a delegation of education officials, were in the midst of a performance when a fire broke out in the hall. The students were instructed to remain in their seats so that the visiting executives could exit first. By the time the fire had been contained, 323 people had perished, 288 of them children between the ages of six and 14. All of the officials survived. After the tragedy, the story was heavily censored in the Chinese state media. To this day, the families of Karamay have not been allowed to publicly mourn their children. –Locarno Film Festival
A devastating documentary about collective failure that lead to a tragedy and injustice done to the bereaveds. Xu Xin displays the circumstances through news footage and long interview sessions, not just giving a very clear picture of the course of events on Dec 8th, 1994, but also showcasing the mentality of everyone involved. The result is an unsettling account on gonvernmental arrogance and indifference.
A breakdown of the VIFF experience, its qualities and traits.
"The artist Ai Weiwei has not been heard from since Sunday morning Beijing time, when he was detained at the Beijing airport before a routine
Xu Xin’s 6-hour testament video, Karamay, which I saw at the Vancouver International Film Festival in October, works forcefully