Still from China Heavyweight
Sundance Film Festival
Director: Yung Chang
In 1959, Chinese President Mao banned the sport of boxing for being too violent and American. Thirty years later, the ban was lifted and the communist country has embraced the sport in a fashion that can develop young children into proud representatives of their culture. Filmmaker Yung Chang follows the recruiting process of former regional boxing legend Moxiang Qi as he enlists elementary school students in the Sichuan Province and persuades them to leave their studies behind in order to build a potentially prosperous career in the ring. While we are given footage of these youngsters learning the art of combat, the majority of the film focuses on Coach Qi and his older prospects, especially the competitive show-off with dreams of becoming a professional boxing king, Miao Yunfei. This pompous prospect comes from a family of tobacco harvesters who are hesitant to support his life’s path, but that doesn’t stop Yunfei from immediately dismissing the fears coming from all directions, even from his own coach. As Qi guides and educates his pupils, the renowned athlete has his own demons to overcome with the disappointing loss in his Olympic qualifying fight in 1999, which he believes triggered the death of his father. Chang has captured an intimate glimpse into the hopes and dreams of China’s underprivileged as they literally spill their blood, sweat and tears to achieve a better life for themselves.
Time: 6:30 pm Date: 1/24/2012 Venue: Redstone Cinema 8
Time: 9:00 am Date: 1/26/2012 Venue: Egyptian Theatre
Time: 12:15 pm Date: 1/27/2012 Venue: Temple Theatre
TIme: 9:00 pm Date: 1/27/2012 Venue: Screening Room, Sundance Resort