Welcome to the RAI Film Festival Programme 2019!

Explore the 2019 programme below, either by browsing the separate sections, or looking at the timetable view.

Student showcases films made by the new generation of ethnographic filmmakers, often as part of doctoral projects
RAI/Basil Wright features the films competing for the top prizes at this year’s festival
Material Culture focuses on films with something to say about the way we engage with our material world
Intangible Culture explores worlds of music, dance, performance, and ritual
Special Interest explores a range of fascinating topics, including programmes with a special director or thematic focus
Shorts is new for 2019, and celebrates the best in short-form ethnographic filmmaking as a cauldron of innovation


Directed by
Zheng Long

Countries of production

Year of production

Black and white, colour or both

96 minutes

29 March
Cinema 1, Watershed 9:00 AM
RAI/Basil Wright

From the 1970s, the "family planning" policies of the Chinese state limited its citizens to having one child. These policies are well-known. Lesser known are the smaller stories of how families sought to evade these policies, and the lasting impact on the children and parents affected by them. Elder Sister focuses on a spirited young teacher who was given away to a family in a neighbouring village 20 days after her birth. Now a mother herself, and expecting her second child (which has been allowed since 2016), she reflects on her experiences. We also hear stories from her family; no-nonsense mothers, grandmothers and aunts recalling their memories of the adoption with a frankness which is often surprising. With intimate access to the daily lives, memories, and emotions of its female subjects, Elder Sister provides a fascinating insight into attitudes to kinship in China, in the context of a now-historic state policy that still reverberates through families and communities today.

Location(s) depicted

Language(s) of film subjects