Director Nanfu Wang discusses her shocking, award-winning new documentary and the dangers she faced while making it
Authoritarian states have a quiet, insidious way of dressing up the immoral in the dowdy finery of the bureaucratically sanctioned. To an audience member sitting for Nanfu Wang’s harrowing new documentary One Child Nation, China’s former policy of permitting one infant per family (later amended to two, in the event of a first-born daughter) comes across as frightful stuff, at times borderline dystopian. A western audience would be shocked to hear the elderly so nonchalantly on such morbid matters. But Wang wanted to reveal the banality of this particular evil, to show how history can warp the perspective of those living through it.
“Before making this film, I had more judgement for the older generation, how they seemed to be closed-minded,” Wang tells the Guardian over the phone, not twenty-four hours before Amazon puts her film in American theaters for the widest release of the film-maker’s young career. “After finishing production, going through the process of conducting interviews and looking at the propaganda material, I started to understand why an entire nation of people would behave a certain way. I have more empathy towards the way that they behaved and the way that they think. They’ve lived their whole life in a society that discouraged or even punished citizens who thought independently.”
One Child Nation is out now in the US with a UK date to be announced
Link : One Child Nation: looking back at China’s horrifying policy