CHINA 1978-2008, A PHOTO STORY
Director(s): Emiland GUILLERME – Writer(s): Emiland GUILLERME Contact Print page
In Beijing, French artist and collector Thomas Sauvin has saved close to a million anonymous photo negatives from destruction – photos from the 1980s to the 2000s. This exceptional archive offers us an unexpected glimpse of life during China’s thirty-year post-Mao economic boom from the point of view of ordinary Chinese people.
For the last ten years, Thomas Sauvin has been buying bulks of rolls back from the recyclers before the negatives were destroyed - photographs of weddings, birthdays, studies, travels and family dinners which are the primary material for this film.
Some of these photographs have gained historical value over time; others offer the poetry of fleeting moments. Their overall power, though, resides in their mundane quality, drawing us closer to these strangers who seem to look right back at us… A unique opportunity of showing China like it hasn’t been shown before, of telling the history of a rather secretive country by looking through the keyhole, especially during the period of opening up the country.
Thomas Sauvin and Chinese researcher Shixin Liang have identified two families from the anonymous collection who provide the main thread of this photo story of ordinary Chinese - with amateur films and classical archival material from the same period that further enrich this incursion into Chinese society of the reform years.