People’s Republic of Desire

Hao Wu
| China, USA
| 2018
| 94 min

Winner of the SXSW Documentary Grand Jury Prize, this portrait of livestream superstars plays out like the plot of a lost Black Mirror episode. Livestreaming has emerged as a new mass culture in China, where marginally talented superstars earn millions from devoted fans. People’s Republic of Desire takes us on a journey through the livestreaming showrooms, following Shen Man and Big Li, high-earning pseudo-celebrities worshipped by the obscenely rich and the poor working class alike. The characters come together for a series of bizarre online Idol competitions, where they discover that happiness in their virtual world may be as elusive as in the real one.

Hao Wu
Hao Wu
Sydney Premiere
Festival Year