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Trapped in a city1

IDFA - Trapped in the City of a Thousand Mountains & Quand tout le monde dort

In the vast city of Chongqing, a new generation of rappers try to keep expressing themselves after tough new censorship from the government. 

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Trapped in the City of a Thousand Mountains (David Verbeek, NL/CH 2018, 23')

A new phenomenon of authentic Chinese rap has taken the internet by storm. But behind the unprecedented gains in popularity, there is a struggle for freedom of speech. Rappers are trying to figure out what they still can and cannot do after new censorship is announced.

In Chongqing, one of China”s biggest cities, surveillance is unavoidable—there are CCTV cameras everywhere. And announcements echo across the vast squares warning that “morally suspect individuals” are banned from speaking in public. It”s not exactly the most stimulating environment for young people looking for something more than just collectivist slogans. They express their artistic resistance against the lack of freedom in their tattoos and underground hip-hop. The rappers feel trapped in the immense city.

In 20 minutes, David Verbeek guides the viewer through the Chongqing night, offering an atmospheric and rhythmic inside view of a lively subculture. “I just want to write about my own feelings,” says one of our rapper protagonists. “That's all that matters to me.”

Quand tout le monde dort (Jérôme Clément Wilz, FR 2018, 57')

Under the name PasSage, Ugo and his friends organize underground parties in unusual locations around Paris. The parties are, as one of them puts it, “The last place of expression for us. Truly free.”

Their playful search for adventure takes them to forbidden places, the only spots left to explore in a city where every centimetre is in use. It might be a location in Versailles, an abandoned train next to a monument, a deserted military fort, or perhaps a cave. The decision is made only after an expedition with a backpack and a flashlight to explore the site and its approach routes thoroughly. Partygoers learn of the location just before the party starts, and there are strict rules for them to follow.

Filmmaker Jérôme Clément Wilz takes us into the heart of the group and its experiences. Whether this is about more than just partying, Ugo can”t say—but they”ll certainly still be talking about it in 20 years” time.

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Quand tout le monde3
Trapped in a city2