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Directed by Zhao Liang • 2009 • China
Zhao Liang’s courageous and devastating work of cinematic activism takes us inside the world of “petitioners”: Chinese citizens who come to Beijing from all over the country to seek justice against corrupt government officials and courts back home, only to find themselves waiting months and years for a hearing. Living in makeshift shantytowns and facing pressure from hired thugs to return home, the petitioners—most of them impoverished villagers—enter a strange and often terrifying zone, gradually losing touch with family and friends and with the cruel reality of their situation. Following a group of petitioners for over a decade, PETITION unfolds like a novel by Dickens or Kafka, illustrating the persistent cracks in the system of a country experiencing unprecedented economic expansion.