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China in Documentary Film (Leavey Library): Religion


Avenues of Escape
"The lives of three women intertwine as they embark on a dangerous journey to find freedom during the decades-long crackdown on Falun Gong practitioners in China."

Fangshan jiao tang = Fangshan Church
"The documentary reflects the image of a typical countryside church in China. More than a decade ago, in Donghai County, Jiangsu Province, in a remote little town named Fangshan, a Christian church was built with the financial support of some local inhabitants' relatatives from Taiwan. Since then, believers come to the church every morning. On Sundays, up to 900 people gather here to worship God. Small meetings are voluntarily organized in their houses every evening. Doxologies, sermons, testimonies, and prayers become the biggest part of their life, day after day, year after year."

Fei cheng = Ghost Town
"A documentary film in three parts, following the life of Lisu and Nu minority villagers who live in Zhiziluo, a ghost town in Nujiang Lisuzu Zizhizhou, Yunnan Province. Voices: tells the story of Yuehan, the pastor of the local Christian church, and his 87 year-old father, John the Elder, a formerly jailed Lisu pastor who was among the first to study with Western missionaries before they were expelled by the Communist Party in 1957. Voices reveals both the personal rift between Yuehan and his father as well as questions over the past and future of the church. Recollections: a story about two young lovers faced with substantial cultural and economic obstacles. The young man, Pu Biqiu, must decide whether to leave Zhiziluo for brighter prospects in the city, while his girlfriend faces the possibility of being sold by her father into marriage on China's wealthier east coast to help the family with its financial woes. Innocence: a story of Along, a 12 year-old Lisu boy who lives alone in the ghost town and idles his days away with youthful games. After participating in a traditional Lisu excorcism, Along hurries off to church."

Heavenly Court in Song Family Village
"Religious life in the village is highly gendered, with female shamans dominating most religious activities. These shamanesses and their gods are organized as a 'court,' which expresses a hierarchy of power and prestige analogous to the traditional Chinese imperium focused on the emperor and his ministers."

Jiao tang = My Father's House
"In Nigeria, Pastor Daniel Michael Enyeribe has a revelation to bring the word of God to China. He joins a booming community of African merchants who have settled in the southern city of Guangzhou and established the Royal Victory Church for both Africans and Chinese to worship. The church functions as the spiritual center for the ever-growing African trader community, who struggle with cultural, personal and financial challenges. After being raided by police enforcing strict laws regulating religious practice, Pastor Daniel flees to Hong Kong, where he uses video conferencing to lead his congregation from afar. His colleague Pastor Ignatius assumes daily management of the church, while struggling to support his Chinese wife and their young child..."

Journeys into Islamic China
"In addition to trade goods, religious beliefs also followed the ancient Silk Road into China. Today, a vibrant minority of more than 20 million Chinese Muslims of various ethnic groups live harmoniously among an overall population of more than a billion. This program traces the history of Islam in China while illustrating the Muslim way of life there, including prayer, religious education, and cultural activities".