Georges Didi-Huberman and Jeu de Paume have put together a programme of films and discussions to amplify the themes of the exhibition “Soulèvements.” It includes the film by Zhao Liang Petition, the Court of Complaints.
The complaints office near Beijing’s Southern Station is where thousands of Chinese men and women unable to obtain satisfaction from their local authorities come to put their grievances to the country’s highest body. This is their last hope of being heard. They come from all over China to petition (in the legal sense) the authorities and protest against arbitrary dismissals, the confiscation of land, arrests, physical aggression or sham trials. Among them is Ju’an and her mother Qi, the peasant Zhang Weiye, the activist Granny Pan, the lawyer Wei Jun and M. Liu. The director followed their efforts over several years. Suffering hunger and cold, they were arrested or mistreated by “retrievers.” Because the number of petitions gives China’s central authorities a measure of how the regions are being administered, local chiefs employ emissaries who use strong-arm methods to “dissuade” petitioners from lodging their complaints. But they can never rob them of their dignity or belief in their protest.
Pétition, la cour des plaignants by Zhao Liang (China/France, 2009, 123’). Screening, Saturday 26 November at 2 pm.
Admission: 3 euros or free with exhibition ticket (only on the same day).