Li Hong

Li Hong
b. 1967, Beijing
Video documentarist
The first woman in the New Documentary Movement, Li Hong brings a unique delicate sensitivity to her work. She deals with intimate psychological details, excerpting silent tragedies from the mundane, which may explain why her total output is still relatively modest.
Li studied at the Beijing Broadcasting Institute (1986–90). Her first and most famous piece, Out of Phoenixbridge (Hui dao Fenghuangqiao, 1997), adopts a first-person, confidential tone to recount her encounter with four young women from the small village of Phoenix-bridge in Anhui province who have come to Beijing to work as domestic workers or street vendors for minimum wages. Gradually the piece refocuses on one of the women, follows her back to the village and takes a melancholy look at the social, familial and psychological forces that may drive a young girl, once full of hopes, into leaving home.
Dancing with Myself (He ziji tiaowu, 2002) is made of small snippets of life that Li captures almost on the sly, but always with the warm collaboration of her subjects. In a public park, a beautiful laid-off waitress teaches dance to an odd group of ‘ordinary people’; in a hospital boiler room, a middle-aged man speaks of his sexual longings, while a pigeon lands by him; in the kitchen of a cramped working-class apartment, a young woman, whose husband is in jail, raises her son alone, while bickering with a vengeful sister-in-law.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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