Filmmakers survey Beijings’s surprising underground punk rock scene in a celebration of gutter trash wannabes, throat-singing rockers and all-girl expletive-ridden riff magnets.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2006
Beijing hardly springs to mind as a flashpoint for musical anarchy, but that only makes the hard rockin’ discoveries in filmmaker George Lindt and music journalist Susanne Messmer’s survey of the city’s underground punk rock scene a sweeter surprise. Utilising a fittingly low-fi DIY aesthetic, the filmmakers profile up-and-coming bands struggling to make themselves heard in the burgeoning metropolis. The music that they’ve uncovered should prick up the ears of even the most jaded music fan. Gutter trash punkers Joyside perform their own brand of raucous noise in crowded basements; the lead singer of T9 pays homage to his Mongolian heritage by bringing traditional instruments and throat-singing to his rock combo; while all-girl punk group Hang on the Box unleash a joyous explosion of expletive-ridden riffage. Alternating between concert footage and candid interviews with band members, the film offers a fascinating glimpse into 21st-century life in China’s increasingly consumer-driven capital, as the generation born under China’s Single Child policy hit their straps. — Michael McDonnell