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“This used to be a cherry orchard”: a video interview with Ryuji Otsuka

Ryuji Otsuka’s film Beijing Ants (2014) explores the consequences of his family’s eviction from a Beijing apartment. From the Open City Documentary Festival.

Dea Gjinovci Donato Paolo Mancini
7 July 2015

Rental prices in mainland China have been rising since 2000. And Beijing holds the record, with the cost of renting having almost trebled.

Navigating an unregulated world – where spoken agreements weigh as much as written contracts – Otsuka, his wife, and their one-year-old child set out in search of a new place to live, encountering a number of obstacles on their way.

Otsuka’s work deals with the universality of the human lived experience, especially in a pan-Asian perspective. Originally Japanese, he moved to China in 2005.

His previous film production analyses the themes of law, marriage, citizenship and belonging.

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