. Conversations at the Edge (CATE)

October 31 – Shengze Zhu: Present.Perfect.

Posted by | mnguyen6 | Posted on | October 29, 2019

Shengze Zhu in person

Shengze Zhu, Present.Perfect., 2019. Image courtesy of the artist.

Award-winning filmmaker Shengze Zhu (MFA 2017) is celebrated for her incisive portraits of everyday life in China. Her latest film, Present.Perfect., spotlights the country’s explosive livestreaming phenomenon. Collaged from more than 800 hours of footage from “anchors” who share their lives with a virtual community, the film eschews the medium’s stars to focus on marginalized figures—a burn victim, a crane operator, and a factory farm worker, among others. Each anchor offers an indelible window into Chinese society, defined by physical isolation and virtual sociability. Their collective experiences raise provocative questions about technology and the ever-shifting parameters of community, connection, and commerce that have come to characterize contemporary life.

2019, United States/Hong Kong, 124 minutes followed by discussion

Shengze Zhu is a documentary filmmaker and producer. Her first film, Out of Focus (2014), premiered at the Cinéma du Réel in France. Her second feature documentary Another Year (2016) premiered at the Visions du Réel in Switzerland and received the Sesterce d’or Best Film Award. The film also received the Grand Prize at the RIDM Montreal International Documentary Festival, Canada; the Critics’ Award at the Olhar de Cinema, Brazil; and was honored as “Top 10 Films of the Year” in 2016 by 24 images magazine. Zhu’s third feature documentary, Present.Perfect. (2019) premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam where it received the prestigious Tiger Award. In addition to her work as filmmaker, Zhu cofounded the production company Burn The Film with Zhengfan Yang (MA 2017) in 2012. She has served as producer for many of Yang’s films, including Distant (2013), Where Are You Going (2016), and Down There (2018).