7 documentaries about China

    • set 7 items

    A vast country with nearly one-and-a half billion inhabitants, China is far from a homogeneous territory. The nation is home to a one-party state, enormous cultural diversity, and contemporary power structures that ensure both prosperity and a society of extreme surveillance. This IDFA selection presents seven documentaries that show a different side of this complex country.

    ​A country of great contrasts

    The difference between city and countryside is a recurring theme in several of these documentaries about China. In Change of Choice, for example, the filmmaker follows the laborious establishment of an agricultural cooperative in a farming community dominated by family clans, while in Trapped in the City of a Thousand Mountains, a new generation of rappers in Chongqing tries to explore the edges of state censorship.

    But there's also room for personal stories. Please Remember Me is a sensitive portrait of an elderly couple struggling with old age, memory loss, and illness. At the same time, the political closely intertwines with the personal: In Education, Education, the shortcomings of the education system become painfully clear through the individual stories of three Chinese children.

    ​From the festival to your home cinema

    The IDFA Collection includes dozens of documentaries about China. To help you get started, this selection presents seven exceptional films on the subject that were screened at the festival in Amsterdam in recent years. All of them can now be viewed online for free or a small contribution.

    Watch online

    Change of Choice

    • Chen Ling
    • 2005

      An account of the onerous, but sorely needed establishment of an agricultural co-op in a farming community dominated by different family clans.

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      The Chinese Mayor

      • Hao Zhou
      • 2015

        The mayor of the Chinese city of Datong embarks on an immense demolition and building project to transform his city into a tourist attraction.

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        Education, Education

        • Weijun Chen
        • 2012

          Director Chen Weijun uses three stories of young Chinese people to tell a bigger story about the country's failing education system.

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          Jade Green Station

          • Yu Jian
          • 2003

            In very little time, the sleepy village of Bise in China became a lively meeting place after the construction of a railroad there.

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            Please Remember Me

            • Qing Zhao
            • 2015

              An elderly couple in Shanghai gracefully struggles with age, illness and memory loss.

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              Return to the Border

              • Liang Zhao
              • 2005

                Available in Benelux only: Chinese director returns to the Ya Lu River that separates China from North Korea to see what is left of socialism in the two countries.

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                Trapped in the City of a Thousand Mountains

                • David Verbeek
                • 2018

                  In the vast city of Chongqing, a new generation of rappers try to keep expressing themselves after tough new censorship from the government.

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