China's Van Goghs
by Yu Haibo, Yu Tianqi Kiki, China/Netherlands 2016, 80'
EDITING: Søren Bilsted Ebbe, Tom Hsin-Ming Lin, Axel Skovdal Roelofs   LANGUAGE: Chinese

Schermo dell'Arte - Archivio Film
The film describes an artistic workshop situated in the city of Dafen, located in the Shenzhe region, in the south of China. In this laboratory young lowborn people work to produce copies of Van Gogh paintings, which are then shipped and sold all over the world. The owner, Xiaoyong Zhao, has the dream of visiting the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam to see the real paintings of his beloved master. China's Van Goghs is a film focused on the artistic aspirations of a simple man whose life is completely absorbed by the trade of canvases whose stereotypical subjects are repeated endlessly. Zhao, after a life spent in direct contact with the art of the master, is able to understand the value of his own free creativity. In the background, there are the contrasts of a fast developing country, of which we know just a part, where the workers work from dawn to dusk, the taxi drivers hold Mao's santini on the dashboard, and young painters live the globalized myth of a famous western artist. The revealing moment of this vivid documentary is the scene where Zhao and his workers watch the famous film by Vincente Minnelli, Lust for Life, where a tormented Kirk Douglas plays the Dutch master.

Yu Haibo
is a filmmaker and a well-known Chinese social photographer, the Chief Photo Editor of Shenzhen Economic Daily and the Director of Shenzhen Professional Photographers Association. His most prominent photo story China Dafen Oil Painting Village won the 49th World Press Photography Contest 2006, and was collected by San Francisco Modern Art Museum. Yu Haibo received a BA in Photography from the University of Wuhan, China and is the pioneer in surrealism photography in China for his work on the other riverside of the illusion chain which won the top prize at the 15th National Photography Exhibition in 1988. Since 1989, he has been working on documentary photography, and his photo stories including Tibet, Music Youth, China’s urban expansion, have won many prizes and been exhibited internationally. Yu published a book Living in China’s Shenzhen (2008), his films include One Man’s Shenzhen (2012). China’s van Goghs is his debut feature film.

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