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March 21 / 20:00


朱声仄; Shengze Zhu
2019 / Documentary / USA, Hong Kong SAR China / 124 min

Mandarin - Cantonese / Subtitles: English

Weaving together footage filmed and broadcasted by little-known Chinese live-streaming anchors, who struggle with real-life face-to-face social interaction because of their identity, disability and social-economic status, this cinematic collage explores how individuals satisfy their cravings for human connection through virtual togetherness, and how these virtual relationships challenge standard definitions of companionship.

SYNOPSIS / Live-streaming has exploded in China and become one of the most profitable industries over the past several years. While it produces enormous revenues and numerous “Internet celebrities”, it also provides a popular gathering place for masses of Chinese netizens. People that would never cross paths in the real world are now connected in virtual showrooms

and interact in real-time, and one could instantaneously experience what others are experiencing. Such digital hangouts become unprecedentedly crucial for those craving for human connection but shunned in real lifebecause of their identity, disability and social-economic status. PRESENT.PERFECT. weaves together a diverse range of moments and occurrences filmed and broadcasted by little-known Chinese live-streaming anchors from various parts of China, including a street dancer, a tower crane operator, a sidewalk artist, a middle-aged farmer, a young single mother, and among others. What they cherish most in the streaming craze is not fame or fortune, but a companionship they could hardly seek in real life. Although these showrooms don’t exist physically, the shared emotions and feelings generated through virtual togetherness are real.



'Part of the film’s genius is in how the images are put together, sometimes to absurd effect, at other times unnervingly. The system is dehumanising but we see the emotions of the humans inside it. It’s a fascinating film about China that has universal things to say about income inequality and aspiration everywhere: how we’re all sold a dream that’s out of the reach of most. 'The Gardian


Shengze Zhu,
Director/Editor/ Cinematographer

SHENGZE ZHU is a filmmaker and producer from China. She now lives in Chicago. She co-founded a production collective BURN THE FILM with Zhengfan Yang, which is dedicated to creating, producing, and supporting innovative moving-image work with a singular vision. Her feature debut OUT OF FOCUS (2014, documentary) premiered at Cinéma du Réel in France; her second film ANOTHER YEAR (2016, documentary) received the Best Film Award at Visions du Réel in Switzerland, the Grand Prize at RIDM Montreal Int’l Documentary Festival, and was honored as "Top 10 Films of the Year" in 2016 by 24 Images magazine (Canada). Her third film PRESENT.PERFECT. (2019, documentary) received the Tiger Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in the Netherlands, the Grand Prize at RIDM Montreal Int’l Documentary Festival, the Spotlight Award at the 2020 Cinema Eye Honors (USA), and screened at the New Directors/New Films, AFI Fest, Mal de Plata, Cinema du Réel, Jeonju, among many others. Shengze has also served as producer for Zhengfan's films, including DISTANT (2013, fiction, Locarno), WHERE ARE YOU GOING (2016, documentary, Rotterdam)
and DOWN THERE (2018, short fiction, Venice - 2020, Made in China Festival, Ghent).


Introduction by Simon Weyts
Kuleshov - Urgent FM


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