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Directed by Jessica Kingdon
96 minutes
All Ages
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A visually stunning exploration of contemporary China – from consumerism to the pursuit of wealth and status – filmed across 51 locations. Best Documentary Winner, Tribeca 2021.
At a bustling job market, recruiters spruik roles with free Wi-Fi and seating – for under-38s only. On factory floors, armies of automated assembly-line workers produce mountains of plastic goods, ‘Keep America Great' merchandise and life-size sex dolls. A step up the ladder and workers are learning business etiquette, including the proper number of teeth to be revealed in a smile. Switch to leisure time; rows of game-players, over-crowded wave pools and epicurean dining. Chinese-American director Jessica Kingdon intercuts observational, Koyaanisqatsi-like, dynamic footage of all these activities and more. The result is a mesmerising snapshot of China – its aspirations, divisions and 21st century reality.
Never appearing to judge any situation, Kingdon confidently allows the images to tell a fascinating, universal story of inequality and class division, revealing a country that feels more like a capitalist society than anyone’s idea of a Communist state.
Allan Hunter, Screen International
Ascension finds aesthetic allure and fodder for debate in the complex symphony of industrialism and the people functioning within its order and disorder.
Dan Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter


Sun 7 Nov
Dendy Newtown 3
Past Event Cancel
Sat 13 Nov
Event Cinemas George St 5
Past Event Cancel
Program Strand
International Documentaries
All Ages
In Mandarin with English subtitles
Jessica Kingdon
Kira Simon-Kennedy, Jessica Kingdon, Nathan Truesdell
Jessica Kingdon, Nathan Truesdell
Documentary, Asia, Experimental, Off-Beat, South East Asia
Company Credits
Sales Agent: Visit Films
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