The eighth film in Zhang Mengqi’s extraordinary survey of life in 47km, a rural village in Hubei Province, China named after its distance from the nearest city, Suizhou, Self-Portrait: Sphinx In 47Km explores the terrible legacy of the ‘Great Leap Forward’ through the contrasting perspectives of two generations of women. An elderly woman tells the harrowing story of her son’s death; whilst a teenager paints murals imagining a brighter future. This split structure connects the memories of a disappearing generation to the hopes of a new one, finding space for political and personal reflection in a country experiencing great change.
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