A DocTruck event at UnionDocs.

SATURDAY, Oct. 17th – 7:30

These three documentaries looks at a disparate piece of contemporary China: the marginalized but fiercely independent Turkic-Muslim community of Ughyurs; an enormous failed consumer center; and throngs of Taiwanese together in the streets around the 2008 elections.

KINGS OF THE SKY 2004, 68 minutes, USA, video
UTOPIA: PART 3, THE WORLD’S LARGEST SHOPPING MALL 2009, 13 minutes, USA, video
DOGS OF STRAW 2009, 11 minutes, video

KINGS OF THE SKY, dir. Deborah Stratman,

“A purely visual exposition, without narration or textual notation,” – Kay Armatage, Toronto International Film Festival.  An experimental documentary about resistance, balance and fame, Kings of the Sky follows tightrope artist Adil Hoxur as he and his troupe tour China’s Taklamakan desert amongst the Uyghurs, a Turkic Muslim people seeking religious and political autonomy. The film gracefully hovers between travelogue, ethnographic visual poetry, and an advocacy video for preserving a traditional art form.

UTOPIA: PART 3, THE WORLD’S LARGEST SHOPPING MALL, dir. Sam Greene

More than twice the size of the Mall of America, the South China Mall in Dongguan, China, seems to have it all: gondolas, carnival rides, palm trees, Teletubbies. Conspicuously missing, however, are the bustling tenants and hordes of shoppers. Promo pieces promised a “one-stop consumption center,” but what mall developers now have is nearly seven million square feet of empty retail space. Buoyed by a mellow yet optimistic techno-pop soundtrack, this short film takes us on a tour of this failed monument to consumerism—down its empty escalators and lonely corridors, pausing to speak with the store clerks, maintenance workers, and very occasional visitors.

DOGS OF STRAW, dir. Yin-Ju Chen & James T. Hong

Dogs of Straw is both a portrayal of Taiwan’s 2008 presidential election and a meditation on democracy, manipulation, and nationalism. In Taiwan’s fledgling democracy, it is only during a presidential election when the “people exists” as a formless abstract multitude removed from concrete social structures.

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