‘Petition’ is a unique testimony about China today. Since 1996 Zhao Liang has filmed the ‘petitioners,’ who come from all over China to make complaints in Beijing about abuses and injustices committed by the local authorities. Gathered near the complaints offices, around the southern railway station of Beijing, living in most cases in makeshift shelters, the complainants wait for months or years to obtain justice. Zhao Liang has accompanied several of them, particularly a mother and her daughter, whose full story we follow over ten years. A film shot right up to the start of the Olympic Games in direct contact with realities, showing the persistent contradictions of China in the midst of powerful economic expansion.
Zhao Liang was born in Liaoning, China, in 1971. He graduated from Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in 1992. Based in Beijing since 1993, he has been working as an independent documentary filmmaker as well as an artist in photography and video art. His films Behemoth (2015), Together (2011), Petition (2009), Crime and Punishment (2007) and Paper Airplane (2001) have been selected and screened in Cannes, Venice, Berlin and other prestigious film festivals worldwide. With Petition, he won the Big Stamp (International Competition) Award at ZagrebDox 2010.
Petition: La Cour des Plaignants
2009, 123', color, video
Zhao Liang, Sylvie Blum
Ina Michele Gautard
Festivals & Awards:
Hawaii International Film Festival - Halekulani Award for Best Documentary; Lone Star International Film Festival - Special Jury Mention