The documentary New Beijing, New Marriage was filmed on Valentine's Day of 2009. The courage of the two gay contributors surprised me and filled me with admiration. The film is a kind of performance art. I especially appreciate that the director has captured the reactions and opinions of the spectators on the street. Some are appreciative; some did not like it at all: this mirrors the different perceptions of homosexuality among modern Chinese people. It lets us see China in flux through the question of homosexuality.
Si Han, Curator
Synopsis of the film:
The Qianmen Gate at the south end of Tiananmen Square, a testimony to the old city wall that once surrounded Beijing; Valentine's Day, an imported tradition embraced by young Chinese; homosexuality, which has been a forbidden subject and is still hard to handle.
Qianmen Street, which runs in a straight south from the gate, was heavily renovated for the 2008 Olympic Games and became a popular pedestrian area for locals. On February 14, 2009, two gay couples (two males and two females) decided to take wedding photographs on Qianmen Street on this Western celebration. The spring weather was fine and sunny, and both Beijing residents and tourists from other parts of the country were walking along the street. Suddenly they encountered a sight they had never seen before. This was a serious challenge; could they re-evaluate their familiar thought processes? Was this a new Beijing, with entirely new perceptions?
The event garnered much media attention and became an important milestone for the Chinese gay movement.
Fan Popo 范坡坡
1985: born in Xuzhou, Jiangsu
2007: Bachelor of Arts, Dept. of Film Studies, Beijing Film Academy
Lives and works in Beijing