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A Young Patriot (2015)

3.8 of 5 from 45 ratings
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Director (Du Haibin) follows Zhao for five eventful years, charting his painful maturation in 'A Young Patriot. Hailing from a working class urban family, Zhao is the sort of student who is a prime target for the state’s unceasing propaganda campaign. When we first meet him through Du’s lens, he gives the Communist government credit for so conscientiously providing for him and his classmates. However, Du and editor Mary Stephens quickly cut to his parents, who explain all the economic sacrifices they made to pay for his school fees over the years.
Reality is not what he thinks it is, as he learns when he is finally admitted to university and forced to take out considerable student loans in his own name. While Zhao tries to maintain his patriotic zeal by volunteering for the campus propaganda association (they really do use the term “propaganda”), he cannot help noticing how greater opportunities are afforded to his better connected classmates. However, nothing will bring home the realities of China’s extreme social stratification like service as a volunteer teacher in the grindingly poor Sichuan mountainside. For a mere fifteen days, Zhao and his colleagues will provide Dialiangshan’s children the only education they will get until another such fifteen day excursion can be mounted. Clearly, the Sichuan trip essentially completes Zhao’s intellectual and emotional divorce from the Communist worldview. To his credit, he also develops heretofore unseen empathy, maintaining a connection to the village after their brief term of service. Alas, contemporary China has one more curve ball to throw him, when the corrupt local authorities nationalize both the new house his parents are constructing and the longtime home of his grandparents for their latest dodgy development scheme.
Changtong Zhao
Haibin Du
Shao nian, xiao zhao
China, Documentary
Release Date:
Not released

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