Acclaimed documentary When the Bough Breaks with director Ji Dan in person: NYC, Chicago, Iowa

"When the Bough Breaks" (dir. Ji Dan)

This week dGenerate Films, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University and Grinnell College proudly present acclaimed filmmaker Ji Dan, screening her newest documentary When the Bough Breaks.

Dubbed “one of the most important female filmmakers in China” by the Rotterdam Film Festival, Ji Dan spent three years following a migrant worker family living in the outskirts of Beijing, as the family’s three children fight against all odds – including their own parents – to continue their education and pursue a better future. The family’s tense exchanges are captured as two headstrong girls try to negotiate a path to independence, security, and adulthood, revealing how some children are forced to make their own way in the world. The film climaxes in perhaps the most dramatically stunning Chinese New Year family scene ever recorded.

The film premiered at the 2011 Yunnan Multicultural Visual Festival, and screened at the 2011 China Independent Film Festival as one of the top 10 documentaries of the year, and at the 2012 International Film Festival Rotterdam. Says Ji Dan of the experience of filming When the Bough Breaks: ‘Never before have I become so involved in the story of my subjects and never before have I felt as unsettled or overwhelmed.’

Ji Dan will be present at each screening. A full list of screenings and venues follows:

Museum of Modern Art, New York
Monday February 20, 8pm
Wednesday February 22, 1:30pm
Part of MoMA Documentary Fortnight
11 W 53 St, New York, NY
Visit moma.org for more details

Northwestern University, Evanston IL
Thursday, February 23, 7pm
Chambers Hall- 600 Foster
located on the Lower Level of the Transportation Center

Grinnell College, Grinnell IA
Friday, Feb. 24, 8pm
Alumni Recital Hall (ARH) 302
Grinnell College

University of Chicago
Sunday, Feb. 26, 5pm
Doc Films
Ida Noyes Hall at The University of Chicago (1212 East 59th Street, Chicago, IL 60637)
Visit Doc Films for more details

Special thanks to the Museum of Modern Art, the University of Chicago, Doc Films, Northwestern University, and Grinnell College.

About Ji Dan

Born in 1963 in Heilongjiang. After graduating from Beijing Normal University, Ji Dan spent time in Japan from 1988, studying at Yokohama National University and at Kyoto Seika University. She later joined Asia Press International and began producing independent documentaries in 1994. Old Men (1999), a film about Tibetan farmers, was shown at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and the Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival. Ji has also filmed many documentary programs for NHK television. She participated in YIDFF 2003, as producer of the Ogawa Shinsuke Prize-winning Wellspring (2002). Her Dream of the Empty City (2007) was produced with support from the Pusan International Film Festival.