People’s republic of Desire


One of the most impressive movie Ih ave ever watched in the Melbourne International Film Festival is People’s republic of Desire. As the review of MIFF websites illustrate that with the econimic boom in China, many industries have been boosted and one of the epitome is the live streaming. Many ‘weird’ scenes have happened in the industry and the story of People’s republic of Desire is like the plot of a lost episode of Black Mirror. It is an unsettling and fascinating look at the new online frontier and it is also a epitome of the current society of China to some extend.

Just like Twitch, China has many live streaming websites such as Douyu, YY, Panda and Zhanqi. Some of these website have hosts who live gaming as well as daily life. The documentary film just recorded two protagonists whose name are Man Shen and Big Li. The previous streamer is a female and her main show is about chatting, singing and dancing. While Big Li is a comedian star who live his show on YY streaming site. Their fate are converged by one of the year award of YY. The web site yearly award 10 most streamers with most influence in terms of their viewing and votes from audience. Streamers who win the award will gain advantage in next years’ streaming so that they can earn more many. Therefore, every streamers are struggling to win the award. Man Shen gain a lot of fans because of her beauty while her singing and dancing skills are just on average. The film interviewed several fans and they said that they “just want to lokk at her face”. Big Li, on the other side, is a streamer who born in rural area and his early life is poor. However, when he became rich after being a streamer, he married an streamer agent and had a kid. Although being “success” (as he said in the movie), he still lived in big anxiety because he had never topped on the award.

There are sevral stories that impress me a lot. Firstly, Man Shen had earned money for herself as well as her family. But his father still thought that she should find a good husband because in Chinese traditional culture, female are regarded as appendage to male. The tension is between modern feminism and some traditional culture. While Big Li said his value is somehow like the “law of the jungle” that ones who have money and power are superior to those who haven’t. When he came back to his hometown, everyone welcame him and treat him as a distinguished guest. The movie also showed the fans community of Big Li who lived in lower-class and imagined that they can became ‘success’ as Big Li. They are  huge fanbase of him.

In filming the streaming industry, the movie tries to display a wide scene of current Chinese society. The core value of some of the Chinese young generation is embracing money and power and they are penetrated by the consumerism.

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