China: The Arts, the People | Chicago Reader

China: The Arts, the People

Berlin underground formalist and feminist camp talent Ulrike Ottinger (Ticket of No Return, Madame X—Absolute Ruler) seems an unlikely source for a China documentary (or any documentary for that matter), but her proclivity for letting her camera run for surreally long periods of time without the least concern for the audience's backsides has never been questioned, so what the hell, why not? . . . Actually, I like what I've seen of her previous work, with its deadpan cleverness and bizarre conceptual unfoldings, but watching it does demand a certain amount of, let's say, stamina. Four and a half hours' worth is what's required here, but there's not a single zoom in the whole film, or so it's been reported, which is almost a recommendation in itself (1985).

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