Main content


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.

"A riveting portrait of an artist's attempts at expression and conflicts with societal norms."—Museum of Modern Art

"Li succeeds in revealing his own soul"—Rotterdam International Film Festival


Main credits

Li, Ning (screenwriter)
Li, Ning (film director)
Li, Ning (film producer)
Li, Ning (editor of moving image work)
Yungqing, Liu (film producer)

Other credits

Editing, Li Ning; cinematography, Ge Weihan [and 19 others]; music, Huang Jin [and 4 others].

Docuseek subjects

Distributor subjects

Performance art
dGenerate Films Collection - Documentaries


performance artist; artists; LI Ning; Chinese; film; contemporary; modern; video; DVD; documentary; art; "Tape"; dGenerate Films; "Tape"; dGenerate Films

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