Screening of the documentary
A cabbie driving for art: Artists and Villains in a Beijing Village
by Xu Xing (China) and Andrea Cavazzuti (Italy)
85 min, Chinese with English subtitles
Comedy, Docu-Drama, Art, Social Issue
Forty kilometers from the city of Beijing, Songzhuang, once an unknown village, has become a world-famous art community in a short span of time due to an influx of over 5,000 artists. Thanks to their settlement the village has witnessed a dramatic change in its political, cultural, social and economic life. The self-acclaimed artists come and go, bringing with them dreams and leaving empty-handed, making the village a merry-go-round for gamblers, a springboard to success for some and an alien, arid land for many others.
Laojin (Old Jin) comes from a peasant family which is native of Songzhuang for generations. He is an illegal cabbie and enjoys a luck unheard of by his ancestors: a connection with “artists”. When these artists started coming, Laojin bought a cheap second-hand car and set to do his business. His car is fully covered, both inside and out by graffiti, artists’ signatures, epigrams and small drawings alike. It has become a sight of the village and Laojin’s great pride.
There is not a single artist in Songzhuang that Laojin does not know. He loves to expound. The satisfaction he draws from learning to do so, provides him with a temporary shelter from the daily miseries and nuisances, and brings him into an undefined dimension, a spiritual realm.
Through the eye of Laojin, the documentary “Five+Five” captures the everyday life of Songzhuang, a small village as big as the 21st century’s China.