Game Theory 博弈

繁體中文China 中國2009 / 94min
Director:WANG, Qingren 王清仁


Realizing the importance of knowledge in determining her children's fate, Zhang Zhi Li decides to leave her two adolescent daughters at her home in the countryside, and with her husband, takes her son to the city in pursuit of an education.

Yang Xiu Qing has brought her only son and daughter from the countryside to the city. In order to make it possible for them to stay there, she has used her late husband's pension to buy city resident permits, known as "hukous," for her two children.

Two ordinary families from the countryside, for the fate of the next generation, have left their hometowns for the city, where they begin to seek their dream of a wandering life/begin their wandering life in pursuit of their dreams. However, things do not develop as expected.


Exorbitant school fees kept Zhang Zhi Li's child locked outside of the city's school gates, leaving her with no option other than to teach her son how to read while she works at the flea market every day. Her two daughters, left at their countryside homestead out from under the watch of their parents, find it difficult to take care of themselves. The oldest daughter has already considered stopping her studies, often skipping school and cutting classes.

In order to help them forget about their own hardships after her husband passed away in a car accident, and more so to become dignified citizens of the city, Yang Xiu Qing decides to lets her slightly older daughter leave school to work in a bar, like herself, to help earn money to support her son's studies. Yang Xiu Qing's biggest concern is not her son's present tuition, but that his school fees will become increasingly expensive. Yang Xiu Qing will have to hand over more than a few thousand yuan in fees to send him to a good high school, and then there is always college to worry about.

The tremendous gap between reality and dreams has left the two families tightly embraced by poverty. Exactly which road should they follow? Should they return to the countryside to start over, or should they take one last stand against fate and stay in the city? Neither choice seems to be very easy…


WANG, Qing-ren
Began to make documentary since 2002. His works include:
In the Military Training Camp (producer, sound recording), 2003
Floating Du (producer), 2003
Camp China (director, camera, editor), 2004
The last picture (director, camera, editor), 2005
Chorus (director, camera, editor), 2007
Game Theory (director, camera, editor), 2009

From the Director

Facing the threat of land-use rights, farmers in the Liyuan and Maying villages are doing everything in their power to beat the system. Intense verbal confrontations are matched by under-the-radar strategic manuvering. This situation reflects the conditions of survival for present-day rural villages and their peasants.

Game Theory illustrates the delicate interactions between the government and the farmers, as well as the subtle changes in the rules of the game between the officials and citizens under the current administrative system.

Struggle is (part of) social progress. Through (ongoing) struggle, China is gravitating ever closer toward a more democratic society.

These struggles have resulted in many losses for both the government and the farmers, but have contributed to the growth of society as a whole. The struggle continues…

Film Festival

※ The 34th HKIFF, Humanitarian Documentary Competition section, 2010
※ The 7th China Independent Film Festival, Top 10 best documentary, 2010
※ The 2nd Macau International Movie Festival, documentary competition, 2010
※ Yunnan Multi Culture Visual Festival Competition section, 2011

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