Documentary: The Road to Fame

Posted by Betty Mao & filed under Film.

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 “For all the dreamers and their parents.” – The Road to Fame

New York Premiere at Doc NYC | IFC Center | 7:15pm, Saturday. November. 16, 2013

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The Road to Fame is a story about realizing the “Chinese dream.” Shedding light into Chinese youth and the entertainment business, Director Hao Wu explores the effects of the One Child policy, specifically on China’s generation Y. The film centres on parental expectations of only children, and parents’ efforts to support their child’s success and fulfillment.

The “Chinese dream” is a political slogan introduced by the government in 2012 to rally its increasingly restless population. Wu examines how a group of youths in China define and realize their own “Chinese dream” beyond the official propaganda. The film asks the questions: what do their dreams say about China today, and how will their pursuit of these dreams shape China’s future?

The camera follows a class of senior students in China’s top arts academy – the Central Academy of Drama. The class is preparing their graduation performance, the western Broadway show, Fame. The film’s original intent was to depict the cultural idea of fame as Fame – a story about the “American dream” – was produced at China’s own Fame school. However, the focus shifted onto the “One-child” generation, while also presenting China’s socio-economic environment and the corruption in the entertainment business.

The students come from diverse family background, have contrasting personalities, and harbor different career goals. They struggle with the various cultural values shaping China today—Confucianism, individualism and materialism—and seek guidance from the American coaches to find their own voices. They strive to control their own fate while doing their best to make their parents proud. In the pursuit of Fame on and off stage, they learn to both compromise and persevere on the path to their dreams.

Overall, this a great documentary that shows the struggles of modern Chinese youth, and the different cultures and attitudes that have come to influence their dreams.

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