LI Ning. China, 2010. Documentary, 168 minutes. Mandarin w/ English subtitles.
“A riveting portrait of an artist’s attempts at expression and conflicts with societal norms.” – Museum of Modern Art
Performance artist Li Ning turns his life into art in this epic work of experimental documentary.
For five grueling years, Li Ning documents his struggle to achieve success as an avant-garde artist while contending with the pressures of modern life in China. He is caught between two families: his wife, son and mother, whom he can barely support; and his enthusiastic but disorganized guerilla dance troupe. Li’s chaotic life becomes inseparable from the act of taping it, as if his experiences can only make sense on screen.
Tape shatters documentary conventions, utilizing a variety of approaches, including guerilla documentary, experimental street video, even CGI. Tape captures a decade’s worth of artistic aspirations and failures, while breaking new ground in individual expression in China. “Li succeeds in revealing his own soul” (Rotterdam International Film Festival).
LI Ning is an avant-garde dancer and performance artist, who made his film debut with the documentary Tape.
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