The Art of Regret

© MacDougall
60 minutes / Colour / 2007
Directed by
Judith MacDougall

Anthropologist Kathy Zhang

Country of production Australia

Photography is known in China as the “Art of Regret”. In the rapidly changing city of Kunming, people are ambivalent about whether they want photography to be a medium of preservation and evidence, or of transformation and fantasy. While old photographs are cherished, digital technology can now make old people look young again. At computerized stalls in department stores, faces and clothing can be instantly transformed. An old-established studio digitally enhances the images made on their wooden 19th century portrait camera. Choices about how to regard history, reality, and material culture constantly confront everyone in contemporary China.

Language and subtitles Chinese (various dialects) with English Subtitles

Region South-East Asia

Country China

Keywords Material Culture Film / Photography / Mass media