High Tech, Low Life
USA, China | 2013 | 88 min
High Tech, Low Life follows two of China’s first citizen reporters as they travel the country and document the underside of China’s rapid economic development. A search for truth and fame inspires young vegetable seller “Zola” to report on censored news stories from the cities, while retired businessman “Tiger Temple” makes sense of the past by chronicling the struggles of rural villagers. Land grabs, pollution, rising poverty, local corruption and the growing willingness of ordinary people to speak out are grist for these two bloggers who navigate China’s evolving censorship regulations and challenge the boundaries of free speech.
From the perspective of vastly different generations, Zola and Tiger Temple must both reconcile an evolving sense of individualism, social responsibility and personal sacrifice. The juxtaposition of Zola’s coming-of-age journey from produce vendor to internet celebrity, and Tiger Temple’s commitment to understanding impact of China’s tumultuous past reveals a striking portrait of a new China in flux and of news-gathering in the 21st century.
DIR Stephen Maing
CAST Zhang Shihe, as self Zhou Shuguang, as self