Beijing Punk (2010) Banned Trailer
Banned trailer for Beijing Punk.
Close to four decades on from the British musical movement of the early 70s, punk is exploding in the most unlikely of places—the underground scene of Beijing, China. With a small but growing following, Beijing punk music is as rebellious and raw as that of the forefathers. This time, Johnny Rotten has a peculiarly Chinese flavor.
In a country fast becoming the factory of the world, China has gone mad about capitalism. But not everyone is working 12-hour days seven days a week. Most definitely not Leijin and his band members. A skinhead punk rocker and founder of the band called Misandao (a Chinese word for sweet cream puff), Leijin is big, tough and tattooed. He is also very intelligent and media savvy. For him and the few dozen punks like him scraping a living from this art form it is all about freedom—“if you are human, you want to be free,” he punches his open hand.
With lyrics both in English and in Chinese, the punks of Beijing seem free to innovate and make their own version of a revolt that is more than just music and mohawks, it is a statement to the culture at large. They bellow out themes like disgust with waste, police brutality, wasted lives, pointless government slogans and the bureaucratic machine. Their songs seem familiar and also entirely new. Most of all, they are animated with the raw energy and desperate vehemence that comes with fear and daring.
Punk is as far from the picture of the model Chinese citizen as you can get, and the reason for its appeal to the youth of Beijing. Though not against the law, it is anything but socially acceptable to be a punk in China. Set this against the backdrop of extraordinary state control and you have an environment that is ripe for outrageous rebellion where stakes are as high for the bands as they are for their followers. Flaunting freedom and outrage in public spaces in a country where the Internet and YouTube are still being blocked is hugely seductive. It is this flagrant disrespect for the old, staid and conformist that is stoking the desires of China’s youngest generations. And it can get them arrested.
Australian filmmaker Shaun Jefford has been inspired by such defiance and real danger to make his documentary film called Beijing Punk. “These guys are headed for trouble sooner or later, lets hope it’s later” says Jefford. Drawn in by Leijin’s guts and charisma and the sizzling energy of punks and skins like him, Jefford has captured on film Beijing’s brazen version of an underground revolution that runs directly counter to the mass culture and the deeply felt restraints of an aged communist regime.
- Posted: August 31, 2010
- Director: Shaun Jefford
- Writer: Shaun Jefford
- Studio: Newground Films
- Release: July 4, 2010
- Cast: Unknown or Not Available
No music available