Ants Dynamics – Xu Ruotao

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A number of artists participated in the rights protection activities of workers of China Telecom in the form of performance art to support their decade-long struggle. As the investigation went on, various contradictions began to appear.

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Description

Synopsis of Ants Dynamics

In 2008, in order to improve the basic rights of workers in mainland China, the government enacted a new labor law. However, the senior workers of the state-owned company China Telecom accidentally discovered that the company did not pay for their employees’ pension insurance. As a result, they would face the serious consequences of having no support for them after retirement. Therefore, they began to ask the company to pay, but the problem has not been resolved.

Under the current situation of China’s official power over the law, this group of senior workers has gone through nearly a decade of arduous and long petitioning and rights protection processes. Yet they were discharged in 2016 when about to retire. Forced into desperation, they filed a lawsuit against China Telecom in court the following year.

In 2018, some artists participated in the rights protection activities of China Telecom workers in the form of performance art to support their struggle. As the investigation went on, various contradictions began to appear. The reality is more complicated than the artists imagined.

Information

2 hour 0 minutes | English & Traditional Chinese subtitles | HD (1920×1080)
China | 2019
Director: Xu Ruotao, Wang Chuyu

Awards & Film Festivals

1. Official Selection, 2021 Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival
2. Official Selection, 2020 DMZ International Documentary Film Festival

Highlight Endorsement

“It takes an onion peeling approach to a complex, decade-long legal dispute over the pay of rural telecommunications workers. Artists and groups involved in the intervention gradually modified their views and exposed themselves to the same dangers as the workers. Freed from the shackles of direct cinema, this work may be a new coordinate in the independent documentary progress in China.”
Shi Wenhua, Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston

“Ants Dynamics has a powerful artistic representation, showing the dignity of rights protection workers.”
Zeng Jinyan, Post-doc Fellow at the Lund University

“It focuses on common cases of rights protection in China. Because of artists’ involvement in the complex and trivial rights affairs of rural areas, art, film creation and rural rights protection actions are intertwined, witnessing the challenges faced by art intervention in society and leaving a rare case material.”
Zhu Rikun, filmmaker & founder of Fanhall Films

Reasons for Recommendation

1. This film reveals how ordinary people resist and save themselves when they encounter various injustices in a society ruled by men instead of law.
2. From this documentary, we can see artists express their concern for social issues and appeal to the public through their creative works.
3. Ants Dynamics’ politically charged style makes it a riveting and powerful experience.

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