Best Intl Feature Documentary Edmonton Intl Film Fest
"It's a cautionary tale of sorts, but the story is so strange it is often not clear exactly what it's cautioning us against" -Los Angeles Times
½ "A delightful tale of filmmaking woe... a This American Life-styled comedy of errors" -Chicago Tribune
Recommended! -NewCity Chicago
"Unmade in China is nominally about filmmaking, but what [filmmakers] Kofman and Barklow do well is to use their unusual position within the Chinese state machine to make a thinly veiled movie about politics" -NPR
Unmade in China is a documentary that follows the experience of a Los Angeles filmmaker (Gil Kofman, The Memory Thief) who finds himself in Xiamen, China trying to direct a thriller, in Chinese, using a translator. He soon discovers that the old adage of making a film three timesin the writing, shooting, and editing is in fact the opposite in China, where his film is "unmade" three timesin the writing, shooting, and editingwith each subsequent stage of the process even more excruciating and devastating than the one that came before it.
Determined to make his film happen, even under the most adverse conditions, our overeager American cannot even begin to imagine the complications of making a government sanctioned film in Communist China.
Aside from a fun and frivolous tale that documents the trials and tribulations of an Angeleno making a film in China, this is also a cautionary tale, redolent with political resonance, about what compromises an artist suffers in order to make their work. "It was the 'China Way' or the highwayand," says Kofman, "you can never possibly learn what's the China Way."
Directed by Tanner King Barklow & Gil Kofman, 2012, U.S.A./China, 90 mins.