Film: Beijing Ants, The (2013)

May 5, 2014 | By


BeijingAnts_picFilm: Very Good

Transfer:  n/a  Extras: n/a

Label: n/a

Region: n/a

Released:  n/a

Genre:  Documentary / Hot Docs 2014

Synopsis: Unsettling footage reveals the awful behaviour a family encounters as they urgently seek an apartment in pricey Beijing after their landlord gives them a harsh choice – pay up or get out.

Special Features:  n/a




When Ryuii Otsuka’s family of three are given notice by the daughter of their supposed landlords to either accept a steep rent increase or vacate their apartment by the end of the month, things swerve to some horrible extremes in this fascinating documentation using hidden and out-in-the-open handycam footage that captures the fast-shifting temperaments and appalling behaviour of people.

It’s also a glimpse into Chinese culture through the eyes of Japanese director Otsuka, who for whatever reason, sensed a need to film everything from start to finish. The unedited 11 minutes of hidden camera that starts Beijing Ants sets the tone for the lies, manipulations, and desperation encountered by the family, and although there is a resolution to their crises at the end, their experiences with fiery landlords, corrupt police, non-assertive realty agents, fatigued movers, and scummy nightclub owners reveal the way respect, saving face, and a need for closure are vital to civic and social order. Even with all the hot tempers, there are incontestable boundaries no one’s willing to cross, and a sense of dark humour that keeps the family sane at the worst of times, but the nastiness and anguish that’s captured on film is raw and unsettling.



© 2014 Mark R. Hasan



External References:
IMDB  —  Hot Docs 2014 Listing
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Category: Blu-ray / DVD Film Review

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