People's Republic of Desire

Winner
Grand Jury Award ~ Documentary Feature
South by Southwest
Wu's fascinating, deeply alarming film ushers us into a bold new world where our pleasure is simulated, but our pain is real.

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People's Republic of Desire

In a digital universe where live streamers earn as much as $200K a month, can virtual relationships replace real-life human connection? PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF DESIRE tells the stories of two such online stars who've risen from isolation to fame and fortune in China. The film takes us on a vérité journey through their live streaming showrooms, which have become virtual gathering places for hundreds of millions - from the super rich who lavish performers with digital gifts, to poor migrant workers who worship them. The characters are brought together in a series of bizarre online idol competitions, where they discover that happiness in their virtual world may be as elusive as in the real one.
Genre
Documentary, Technology
Runtime
95
Language
Mandarin
Director
Hao Wu
Awards:
Winner, Grand Jury Award ~ Documentary Feature, South by Southwest
FEATURED REVIEW
David Ehrlich, indieWire

On an ordinary morning in 2016, more than 540,000 people in China watched a live-streamed video of a baby eating breakfast. And while the baby was adorable — everything about the toddler’s image, from her bowl cut to her penguin t-shirt, engineered for maximum cuteness — we’re not exactly talking ...

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