Clipping together life

By Cheng Yuezhu | China Daily | Updated: 2024-01-25 06:16
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Documentary film This Is Life juxtaposes multiple vertical short videos on the big screen. [Photo provided to China Daily]

An innovative documentary compiles short videos that ordinary people have posted online to offer insights rarely seen on the silver screen, Cheng Yuezhu reports.

Chinese short-video platforms reveal snippets of life and work that include those rarely represented by mainstream legacy media. They provide glimpses of young women who work as crane operators, a cargo ship crew who spend the year without tap water, and excavator drivers so adept they can perform feats such as using their scoops to turn on a phone by gingerly tapping the power button with the rim of their buckets.

Tsingying Film studio believes these videos provide contemporary and authentic approaches to documentation.

The team selected 887 short videos from 509 uploaders on the platform Kuaishou to create the unconventional documentary, This Is Life, which graced the nation's big screens on Jan 13. It's distributed by the platform, Elemeet.

The idea for the film first came about in 2018, when the film's director Sun Hong was pursuing a doctorate at the School of Journalism and Communication at Tsinghua University.

Inspired by her supervisor Lei Jianjun's view that short videos have changed the creation of documentaries, she and the production crew started to conceptualize a film centered on short-video platform users.

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