The Questioning

From The dGenerate Films Collection

Directed by Zhu Rikun

21 minutes / Color
English subtitles
Release: 2014
Copyright: 2013

"Early in the morning on July 24, 2012, after meeting some friends in Hongkong, I drove a car of my brother back to Shenzhen and got Guo Feixiong and three other friends who take part in human rights protection to the car and went on driving to Xinyu, Jiangxi Province to cheer Liu Ping and two other local independent candidates. They have been oppressed by the government and the police for taking part in the election and other human rights protection events.

"We hurried to Xinyu before dawn on July 25. By the time dawn broke, we found a hotel and put our luggage there, then we went to meet Liu Ping and others, went to see a lake where Liu had been imprisoned nearby, and interviewed them about their experiences. While doing these things, we found ourselves tailed. At 11 o'clock at night, we came back to the hotel, there were some police cars and a group of policemen scattering by the building. The owner of the hotel came to us in a hurry and told us that the police had already been into our room before, and said it had never happened before. At 12 o'clock at night, some policemen came to our room and started the so-called 'room inspection.'

"As they began to knock at the door, I turned on a small camcorder which was prepared in advance. This short film is the record of such a moment." —Zhu Rikun

"[Part] of the recent wave of Chinese documentaries that focus on the Kafkaesque insanity of that country’s bureaucracy, and approach film not as a precious art but as a critical means to survey the state. Zhu Rikun's The Questioning, a single-take film documenting the director’s confrontation with police in his hotel room, essentially serves as evidence of human rights violations."Paul Dallas, ArtForum

"Highly recommended! Riveting; mesmerizing. Human rights activist Zhu Rikun turns an encounter with Chinese police officers who have been following him and a colleague throughout the day into an example of what happens to people who speak or act against China’s political, social or economic interest. The next 21 minutes is a riveting experience and exchange between Zhu and the police about his identity, views, nationality and business in Xinyu, Jiangxi Provence. Zhu Rikun, like many of his brothers and sisters who are questioning the government status quo, ‘will not go quietly into the night.’"LaRoi Lawton, Bronx Community College of the City University of New York

"This short documentary captures a visit to support a human rights activist in Xinyu, a small town in Jiangxi province, by director Zhu Rikun who discreetly switches on his camera when the police comes for a midnight ‘inspection’ of his hotel room. The director Zhu Rikun is also the co-founder and program director of Beijing Independent Film Festival." —Time Out Beijing

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A film by Zhu Rikun

Select Accolades

  • Best Documentary Short, Festival dei Popoli 2013
  • Best Documentary Short, Glasgow Short Film Festival 2013
  • Special Mention, Cinema du Reel Film Festival 2013
  • International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) 2013
  • DocLisboa International Film Festival 2013
  • Vienna International Film Festival 2013


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