ALWH → statement director

My exploration of China and Chinese culture goes back more than 25 years now. Since the brutal suppression of the Democracy Movement in 1989, I’ve traveled through China several times. I have followed its economic development and subsequent political and social upheaval with both amazement and bewilderment. The deeper I delved into the country the more I learned about its grim history, the effects of which can still be felt in China today. Along the way one question has arisen time and time again: What do external events, ruptures and changes trigger in people, and how does it impact their daily lives?

China also always inspired me to think about my own world. Taking a close look at another culture can cause you to see your own in a new light. This was a view also held by French ethnologist and philosopher Claude Lévi-Strauss who felt both encounters and confrontations with a foreign culture give us an opportunity, or stronger yet, a responsibility to look at and question one’s own society.

From my perspective as a Swiss filmmaker, I ask myself where the protagonists find the courage to expose themselves. How would I behave in their situation? How are we each shaped by our past? And finally: How is it possible that the essence of many of the existential problems they are confronted with seem surprisingly familiar to me, despite our vast cultural differences?