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Since 2016, live streaming – individuals filming and broadcasting themselves in real time – has become a major phenomenon in China, an industry and for, some individuals, a means to connect with the world. Zhu Shengze’s fascinating, troubling but overlong documentary is assembled from more than 800 hours of footage gathered from the output of 12 “anchors” over a period of 10 months. Her interest is not in the superstars of the medium but rather with those on the periphery of society who have found both a community online and a means to monetise their difference.
But for all the positives suggested by this angle, there are constant reminders about the toxicity of the live-streaming environment. One of the anchors, a 30-year-old man who never reached sexual maturity and has the appearance of a child, is bombarded with questions about his genitals; another, a severely scarred burns victim, is admonished by a commentator:“You’re ugly.” Like Dave Eggers’s novel The Circle, the film prompts uncomfortable questions about the future of privacy as a right.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Present. Perfect. review – chilling documentary on Chinese live streaming | Documentary films