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Directed by Nanfu Wang • 2016 • China, United States
A work of startling courage that had to be smuggled out of China, Nanfu Wang’s gripping documentary captures the palpable danger as she follows maverick activist Ye Haiyan (a.k.a. Hooligan Sparrow) and her band of colleagues to Hainan Province to protest the unprosecuted case of six elementary school girls who were sexually abused by their principal. Marked as enemies of the state, the activists—and ultimately Wang herself—find themselves under constant government surveillance, with the threat of interrogation, harassment, and imprisonment hanging over them every step of the way. Shooting guerrilla-style with secret recording devices and hidden-camera glasses, Wang produces a fearless exposé on the battle for human rights in one of the world’s most repressive political climates.