Zhao Liang (Petition, Crime and Punishment) directs AIDS documentary in China

A scene from Together (dir. Zhao Liang)

This week on dGenerate we will be featuring articles related to Zhao Liang’s acclaimed documentary Crime and Punishment to coincide with the screening of his films at Anthology Film Archives in New York City. Click here for more information on the screenings.

Dan Edwards reports:

Zhao Liang is undoubtedly one of the leading lights of the independent Chinese documentary scene, and in the past I’ve written about his films Petition and Crime and Punishment… I was surprised to hear… that Zhao had just completed a film about HIV in China that had been passed for official release.

Indeed it is remarkable that the director of probing documentaries depicting Chinese police interrogation tactics on the North Korean border and the suppression of petitioners in the capital of Beijing now has the opportunity to make a film that can screen publicly in China. Zhao’s new film Together was able to be made as a companion piece Life Is a Miracle, a mainstream feature about a couple suffering from an illness suggesting HIV, with megastars Zhang Ziyi and Aaron Kwok directed by Gu Changwei. Together documents Zhao’s efforts to reach out to the community of HIV carriers and enlist several to appear in Gu’s film. Zhao’s film even has mainstream coverage in the Chinese press, as evidenced by this feature in China Daily.

Dan Edwards gives his first impressions of the film, plus an interview with Zhao Liang, on his site Screening China. Zhao reflects:

Before the shoot I had no knowledge at all of HIV – I gradually learned through preparing and shooting the film. Actually the Chinese are a very tolerant people. The discrimination is because people lack knowledge and mainstream media stigmatises the disease.

Read more at Screening China.

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