Huan Meng Lu

Zhao Xu
China | 2022 | 20 min
World premiere
Language : Chinese
Subtitles : English, French

Five Chinese workers recount their dreams. Their nocturnal suffering reflects their difficult and precarious professional experiences. ZHAO Xu builds a deft and disturbing mise en abyme that conveys a surreal sensation, comparable to that caused by a science-fiction film, overtaken by reality.

Five Chinese temporary workers recount what they have dreamed of at night. These dreamlike - or rather, nightmarish - accounts reflect the protagonists’ unstable and degrading work experiences. Each dozes wherever their workplace allows: from a taxi seat to the desk of an estate agency, their existences seem entirely devoted to production. The Chinese filmmaker and artist ZHAO Xu has made a staggering film, in which the sleeping bodies of the protagonists staged in a resolutely artificial atmosphere bear the ghosts of these life stories. This disturbing mise en abyme deftly provokes a surreal sensation, comparable to that caused by a science-fiction film overtaken by reality. Life, as a Dream is a filmic object demonstrating great skill, an astute criticism of contemporary working models, often based on digital technologies and reducing all workers to a set of manageable figures and data. The provocative title leaves no possible escape route: Life, as a Dream.


Alice Riva

2022, Life, as a Dream
2021, The Castle
2021, Shape of the World
2017, Hills and Mountains
2015, Regarding Lambs in the City


Yong Yin
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