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Lost Course

Lost Course

Embedding herself in the village of Wukan, southern China for several years starting in 2011, first time documentarian Jill Li witnessed an unprecedented experiment in local democracy. Corrupt officials had illegally sold villagers' land, but the villagers decided to fight back.

The documentary is divided into two halves: the first, "Protests", depicts the grassroots activities of Wukan residents as they work to reverse the land sales and gain a substantial measure of control over their local territory. We see how the villagers themselves learn to organize elections, form alliances, and win support. Part two, "After Protests", confronts the collapse of idealism as the newly elected village government finds itself mired in the same kind of corrupt dealings they had originally condemned.

Li reveals the complexities of their triumphs and setbacks from the inside. Her astonishingly intimate, sympathetic and fair-minded access to the events' major players reveals Chinese local politics with three-dimensional passion and energy.

"An urgent and energetic affair. Nothing about this complex documentary veers in the wrong direction." —Screen Daily

“A rare vision emerges amid the tumult: a rural Chinese community in its multifaceted fullness, steadfastly setting the terms of its own representation… Uses cinema to illuminate the fruits [of] struggle.” –Los Angeles Review of Books


Main credits

Li, Jill (film director)
Li, Jill (director of photography)
Li, Jill (editor of moving image work)
Chai, Sheng (film producer)
Ren, Yancong (film producer)

Other credits

Cinematography, Jill Li; editor, Luke To, Jill Li, Lau Sze Wai.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

Asian Studies
Economic Sociology
dGenerate Films Collection - Documentaries


; "Lost Course"; dGenerate Films; China; Chinese; government; corruption; democracy; communism; local government; ; "Lost Course"; dGenerate Films,doc; politics; sociss

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