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From The dGenerate Films Collection
Youth (Spring)
Directed by Wang Bing
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YOUTH (SPRING) is a documentary driven by the thrum of industrial sewing machines — just like the lives of the young garment workers it portrays.

The town of Zhili, about 95 miles from Shanghai, is a center for the children’s garment industry. Workers in their teens and early twenties come from surrounding provinces to live in sparse, trash-strewn concrete dorms in the same buildings as the small factories where they spend their days sewing leggings, shorts, fluffy skirts, and jackets with Mickey Mouse hoods.

A remarkably intimate documentary filmed over five years, YOUTH takes us into these independent workshops — many on a street named Happiness Road. Relationships form and fall apart. Young women fend off their co-workers’ advances. Managers and employees engage in intense negotiations over piece-work rates. Unexpected pregnancies throw couples and their families into turmoil. There are fights over shared washrooms, decisions over whether to stay or quit and go home, and many, many meals of take-out noodles.

A successor to Wang Bing’s 2017 film BITTER MONEY, YOUTH is not an exposé of the garment industry. Instead, it draws us into the lives of its subjects — young people who don’t make their beds, worry about having the latest iPhone, and occasionally engage in a food fight. Like so many of us, they’re doing the best they can in a challenging environment.

"Critic's Pick! An exhortation not to forget the unseen.” —The New York Times

“Lived experience is the essence of Youth (Spring) as well as it is of Wang’s project. As a filmmaker he embeds himself in China’s working classes, working his own trade alongside them.” —J. Hoberman, The Nation

“Consistently engaging. Like Frederick Wiseman, Wang is a lofty filmmaking doc deity who moves in mysterious, glacial ways, but one who sometimes performs miracles.” —The Hollywood Reporter

“[An] immersive, 3.5-hour opus.” —IndieWire

Youth (Spring) is possibly the most significant document of Chinese garment workers ever created.” —Paste Magazine

“Wang’s micro portraits add up to a larger canvas on which the dreams and hopes of an entire toiling generation are outlined.” —Vogue

“Each detail opens up a possible new story—about labor, love, youth, the nation. It is extremely contemporary, and at the same time it recalls a pre-cinematic era with its extraordinary directness. Most of all, it is a deeply sad film—one of the saddest I saw this year.” —Radu Jude, Film Comment

“An absolute gift to sit through.” —Film Inquiry


Official Selection, Cannes Film Festival 2023
Official Selection, New York Film Festival 2023
Official Selection, Toronto International Film Festival 2023
Official Selection, Busan International Film Festival 2023
Winner, Best Documentary, Golden Horse Awards 2023
Winner, Douglas Edwards Experimental Film Prize, Los Angeles Film Critics Awards 2023
Nominee, Best Documentary, Jerusalem Film Festival 2023
Nominee, Best Experimental Documentary, Jerusalem Film Festival
Nominee, Best Documentary, Reykjavik International Film Festival 2023
Nominee, Best Documentary, Valladolid International Film Festival 2023 

215 minutes / Color
Mandarin / English subtitles
Release: 2023
Copyright: 2023

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This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Subject areas:
China, Labor Studies, Asia, dGenerate Films Collection - Documentaries

Related Links:
The Films of Wang Bing

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