Totally wrenching. The structure brought to mind Voices from Chernobyl by Alexievich, with long cuts from interviews making the argument instead of narration. Of course this was mediated by the director, but compared to other documentaries, this seemed to actually function as a collaborative effort to document what happened so that it won't be forgotten. It was hard to watch these silenced cries for justice.
I can count on one hand - Sondra Radvanovsky’s performance of “Senza mamma” from Suor Angelica, and seeing Rembrandt’s Late Portraiture in person, for example - those moments where you encounter Rare Art and only recognize your tears after they fall. You look down and touch your cheek and realize you’ve been crying, because the sheer force of the work overwhelms you. This is one of those works.
An epic act of journalism. Not what I would call art. After watching so many views of the darker results of ‘The Great leap Forward’ I couldn’t bring myself to sit through three and a half hours of more social injustice. I get the picture. Bureaucratic incompetence is universal and in this case (as in others) leads eventually to tragedy.
"Karamay" is the happy (word inappropriate considering the context) outcome of a cooperating solution to the prisoner's dilemma. After years of intimidation and persecution, had any of the victims disclosed guerilla filmmaker's intention to publicize the case or suspected him of leaking out the material to Party officials, this film wouldn't have happened. Self-censorship shows up quite often. Orwellian, nightmarish.
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.