Twelve incomplete sneak peaks at the commoners’ modern China

“This country is shit.”

During last Sunday’s screening of Xiaolu Guo’s 2009 documentary “Once Upon a Time Proletarian”, the first of twelve discrete snapshots of the lives of average Chinese people begins with an old farmer boldly criticizing the country for its moral decay and rampant corruption. Plowing through the wheat field, the old farmer speaks with a heavy northern and a tint of humor. The harvest isn’t so good, he says as he takes out a cigarette.

According to the director, Once Upon a Time Proletarian was, more or less, a previously unintended side project conceived during Luo’s production of her feature film. It is meant to be subjective and spontaneous; it is intended to capture the moment, and the moment only, when the subjects’ eyes meet the camera. ¬†Though fragmented, universal themes of dreams, life, ambition, and reality still reverberated throughout the film. Read the rest of this entry »