Category Archives: film

[Film] Laisuotuo, a new film about #SinoAfrica encounters

From The China Africa Project

When independent filmmaker Carl Houston Mc Millan was growing up in the tiny southern African country of Lesotho he saw firsthand the effects of China’s surging engagement in Africa. Even in this remote country, embedded within South Africa, far away from the major hubs of Chinese immigration in Johannesburg and Nairobi he could feel his community was undergoing a profound change.

Unlike larger countries where the Chinese are building massive infrastructure projects and attracting thousands of PRC workers and expatriates, in Lesotho the Chinese are largely economic migrants in search of a foothold to open a small business where many work tirelessly to earn enough extra money to send back to their families in China. These migrants are often poor, uneducated and totally unfamiliar with the local language, Sesotho.

These new foreigners, Carl explained, were not warmly welcome in Lesotho where they encountered widespread prejudice. Sure, the new ‘China shops’ offered lower prices and were conveniently open seven days a week, but they also put enormous strain on local competitors who were often unaccustomed to facing this new competitive pressure. Then there were the constant language and cultural barriers that sparked countless micro-tensions between the Chinese and locals. While this phenomenon of new immigrants struggling to adapt to their adopted country is typical in every country, it was very new and unfamiliar in Lesotho.

Within this struggle for acceptance and assimilation between Chinese and Lesotho, Carl saw the opportunity to tell a bigger story about human dimension of the China-Africa relationship that is largely overlooked in the mainstream press and academic scholarship.

His new short-film, Laisuotuo (the romanization of the word Lesotho in Chinese) tells the story of two migrants, an African doctor living in China and a Chinese shop owner in Lesotho, who both struggle to overcome painful stereotypes and racial profiling. The film was shot on location in both China and Lesotho all on a miniscule, self-funded budget by Carl and his friends.

 

Listen to the interview with the director below

 

[Film] Nollywood’s dream of Asia: ‘Malaysian Money’

A great representation of what happens in the stories of many West Africans before they make it to Asia. Although this film is about travelling to Malaysia, the family situation is very similar before coming to China. Enjoy!

[Film] Stranded in Canton, a film by Mans Mansson and Li Hongqi

 

«Stranded in Canton», a wry hybrid fiction-doc about a Congolese t-shirt seller stuck in Guangzhou. At times feeling like a mix of Claire Denis and Jia Zhangke, the result is a strange, sad, funny and revealing portrait of displacement, and a new kind of globalization: East meets African.
Director : Måns Månsson
Screenplay : Li Hongqi, George Cragg, Måns Månsson
Cinematographer : Måns Månsson
Producers : Måns Månsson, Patricia Drati, Vanja Kaludjercic, Alex Chung

CAST
Lebrun Iko Isibangi (Himself or a version of Himself), Nana Nya Sylvie (Herself), Frank No (Himself or a version of Himself), Wassim Hasbini (Himself)

[Documentary] The little story behind this website made into a documentary: ‘Drifting City’ #SinoAfrica

In 2014-15, I collaborated with a group of Korean film-makers from the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Association that produce documentaries about people on the move (transnational subjects, if you will), and how they/we have been changing Asian cities ethnoscapes. This (little) opening story above, is the real story behind my own personal interest in the broader theme of being a ‘foreigner in China’ and my specific engagement with the topic of ‘Africans in Guangzhou’. The whole documentary is not yet available but it will at some point (I’ve been told).

If you’re interested in issues of transnational migration and representation (or Inter-Asian knowledge production) and want to have a look at the full version, do not hesitate in contacting me.  See trailer and information below.

Drifting City (2015) – Directed by Jeong Kim

The ‘researcher’ became the ‘researched’:

1

This film depicts the journey of a Mexican, Roberto, resident in China. On his way to renew his visa, Roberto meets an African at a railway station between China and Hong Kong. “Why is an African in China?” soon changes into a reflexive inquiry: “Why is a Mexican in China?” Roberto explores the African residents’ community in China and finds many new friends. The film is thus multi- and trans-national, with a Korean director filming the process as a Mexican resident in China explores its African community. (http://bit.ly/1T6p4h1)

2

Staring from Guangzhou, China and Ansan,South Korea, the camera follows Roberto and his partner Nadeemy to meet an African Hip Hop singer and other Africans in China. In a process, we come to realize a whole different path of globalization in this part of the world-China and Korea. Unexpected encounters thrive on love, friendship and aspiration. Like an open cut, there are breathless moments of pain but we all continue walking and drifting in the open cities. (http://bit.ly/1T6p2po)