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People’s Republic of Desire

  • Directed by Hao Wu
  • China, 2018, 95 mins.

Social media stardom in China is a very unique ecosystem, one in which people become famous simply for logging on and telling about their lives. But, subsequently, this dynamic turns to stars just logging on and collecting money from the country’s super-rich—famous-for-being-famous in the extreme. Filmmaker Hao Wu (The Road to Fame) delves into this virtual world where money is no object and human connection finds a new form, utilizing many unique structural devices designed to plunge us into the virtual. Following several uber-popular live-streamers through their day-to-day lives, Wu uncovers a complex web of social relations in which all parties are in thrall of money, fame, and ultimately, meaning. Winner, Documentary Competition, SXSW 2018. “People’s Republic of Desire isn’t a dystopian sci-fi drama or a consumer-culture satire. It’s a documentary…provocative and unsettling.”—Joe Leydon, Variety.

Appears in: Special Screenings

Genres: Documentary