Earth in Crisis hits London

A series of documentary films highlighting the most urgent environmental issues will screen at Bertha DocHouse and Phoenix Cinema this November

Curated by Newcastle University and supported by UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Earth in Crisis showcases a series of Chinese eco-documentary films foregrounding the growing ecological emergency facing our planet. It will bring three award-winning directors from China to UK cinemas, Wang Jiuliang, Fan Jian and Wang Libo. All of whom will present and discuss their films with audiences old and new.

The films screenings are part of a Newcastle University and AHRC project to introduce new audiences to award-winning Chinese films and directors, that have until now, been reasonably hidden from the mainstream.

The Earth in Crisis Tour will visit seven independent cinemas including Bertha DocHouse (based at Curzon Bloomsbury) and Phoenix Cinema (East Finchley), who are hoping that anyone who may never have considered seeing Chinese films before, and who are concerned about environmental issues may attend the screenings, all of which include director discussions, on 14th, 15th and 20th November.

Directors, Wang Jiuliang, Fan Jian and Wang Libo all visit London as part of the tour.

Director Wang Jiuliang’s film Plastic China, highlights China’s role in the global waste trade and exposes how the worldwide waste problem is hitting people living in poverty around the world. When it was released in 2016, the film prompted China’s ban on importing waste. The director said “I am looking forward to visiting London to meet audiences in the cinema and discuss not only my film Plastic China, but also the wider issues facing our planet and how film is essential in telling these important stories.”

Meanwhile, director Fan Jian’s feature length documentary, The Next Life and its short follow-up A Second Child, follows a couple who lost their only daughter in the Great Sichuan Earthquake. Charting their lives for a decade, the film is an emotional tribute to the couple’s longing for another child. When they are blessed with a son, it serves only as a reminder of their loss.

When talking about the film and the time he spent with the couple, Fan Jian said, “The long-term mental health damage to disaster survivors is equally as severe as the physical and economic damage to environment and society. This issue requires our immediate attention.”

Finally, director Wang Libo presents a subtle critique of China’s most expensive and controversial project Sanxia, the Three Gorges Dam in Oh, the Sanxia. The large-scale relocation and long-term ecological impact of the dam aroused widespread concern across China and beyond.

Wang Libo said, “The film does not just look into the project per se but also reveals the vicissitude of China’s politics over the past three decades.”

You can meet the directors and see these films on the following dates:

14th November, Bertha DocHouse, The Next Life and A Second Child (dir. Fan Jian), records a couple’s agony after losing their only daughter in the Great Sichuan Earthquake and their effort to have another daughter, which is sadly in vein. Tickets: www.dochouse.org

15th November, Phoenix Cinema, Plastic China (dir. Wang Jiuliang) follows the lives of two families who struggle to survive in a wasteland of refuse imported from all over the world. Tickets: www.phoenixcinema.co.uk

20th November, Bertha DocHouse, Oh, The Sanxia (dir. Wang Libo) explores the latent danger and long-term ecological impact that has been caused by the Three Gorges Dam. www.dochouse.org

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