Dir: Nathan Yun, 2016, China-Australia, 85 minutes
Thu 13 December // 19:00 / Cinema
"Kite Zhang's Kites" is set in Xi'an, China and follows the work of Mr Zhang, a native of the city who has been creating unique kites for most of his life.
What is different about Mr Zhang's kites is that they are kinetic and have moving parts whilst airborne. As well as exploring the craftsmanship of Zhang's kites, this movie taps into broader themes about crafts, heritage, culture and the possibility or passing these artisan skills down to the next generation. In this regard, as we explore Mr Zhang's work, we also come to know his history and his continual struggle to maintain his art in a life that has seen the Cultural Revolution, financial hardship and shifts in Chinese culture more generally.
The film is important in that it unsettles western stereotypes of China that have often associated the country with hyper-mass production and utilitarianism; moreover, the film also moves beyond standard documentary portrayals of China and Chinese people which tend to show regular Chinese people as victims, or cogs in a great Orwellian machine without voice or identity.
The film is often moving and humorous and takes us into Mr Zhang's family life and allows us to get a sense of perspective on the many socio-economic and political shifts that have taken place. The film was financed and directed by Chinese-Australian film maker, Nathan Yun.
The film runs at approximately 85 minutes and contains interviews with people in and around Mr Zhang's life and family; the film also includes extracts of interviews with everyday Chinese people and a curator at Xi'an's intangible heritage museum/institute.
Join us for the showing of the film "Kite Zhang's Kites" followed by a discussion about the themes addressed in the movie. The film's director, Nathan Yun, will be joining the discussion via Skype and will explore the themes of identity, culture and heritage.