Chinese Visual Festival

Poet on a Business Trip + Ju Anqi

More than a decade in the making, the existential road movie Poet on a Business Trip is Ju Anqi’s most high-profile work to date, winning him awards at numerous international film festivals.

DIR. Ju Anqi
DOCUMENTARY / FICTION / EXPERIMENTAL
China 2015
IN MANDARIN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
103 MINS

Poet on a Business Trip (2015) is Ju Anqi’s most high profile work to date. This black and white hybrid of documentary and drama was shot in 2002 and edited together 12 years later. The winner of several awards at international film festivals, it’s an audacious and compelling work, following poet Hou Xianbo on a self-imposed business trip through the punishing terrain of Xinjiang Province as he meets 12 prostitutes and composes 16 poems. Exuding an atmosphere of loss, the film is an unsentimental yet melancholy rumination on the existential irreversibility of time, by turns intimate, observational, rude, moving and funny, and offering a compelling portrait of a character, a landscape and indeed China at a particular moment in time. Far more than just a road movie, the film is surreal, absurd and shot through with a desolate and allegorical radiance. In a sense, the film documents performance art – or does it satirize it?

Awards

NETPAC Award – International Film Festival Rotterdam 2015

GRAND PRIZE – Jeonju International Film Festival 2015

BEST FILM – ZagrebDox International Documentary Film Festival

About Ju Anqi

Ju Anqi was born in 1975 in Urumqi, Xinjiang province in Chinese Central Asia, where his parents were relocated during the Cultural Revolution. A graduate of the Directing Department of the Beijing Film Academy, he has been an active multi-media artist and filmmaker since 2000. His debut work, There’s a Strong Wind in Beijing (2000) was shot on film stock 8 years past its expiry date. Selected for the Berlin International Film Festival, it marked him out as a pioneer among China’s new generation of experimental filmmakers. Ju Anqi has said that his “artistic enlightenment” was inspired by the Japanese writer Kōbō Abe and French writer Albert Camus, however, though that his works are “influenced by existentialism”. One of the most widely recognized directors from China’s “New Generation” of filmmakers and multi-media artists, his experimental films have been exhibited in the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and in MoMA and the Lincoln Center in New York. His 2013 film Poet on a Business Trip premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, where it won the prestigious Netpac Award, before going on to win Grand Prize at the Jeonju International Film Festival in Korea and Best Film at the ZagrebDox International Documentary Film Festival in Croatia.

Selected filmography

There’s a Strong Wind in Beijing (2000)
Quilts (2003)
Night in China (2006)
Happy Birthday! Mr. An (2007)
Loser and Mao (2013)
Poet on a Business Trip (2014)
A Missing Policeman (2016)
Drill Man (2016)

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