Casey Carter, Colleen Cassingham
2018, États-Unis, 37′
While a Beijing activist makes his case for political asylum in NYC, past and present are superimposed as years of persecution, surveillance, and paranoia unfold. Two cities coalesce into a single stage where personal and political histories reveal the traumas of a young inexperienced dissident, confronting the currents of authoritarian politics.
In 2009, on the grounds of suspected “Subversion of State Power,” Wang Zhongxia was taken by plain-clothed police after printing a small run of t-shirts bearing the phrase “free all political prisoners.” From that day forward, he was tied procedurally and psychologically to the operations of Beijing’s political police - routinely surveilled, and subject to multiple detentions.
9 years later, 'Two Prisons' proceeds in parallel with the pages of Wang Zhongxia’s application for political asylum - referring to its events, evidences, and arguments - repositioning the traumas of its author into overlapping mental and physical spaces of memory.