With the Olympics quickly approaching, it’s hardly surprising the last two or three MIPs have had more than their fair share of China-related docs. In fact, you’d think every angle was covered by now – but you’d be wrong.
Mad About English! follows the hilarious and heartwarming efforts of a city preparing to host the world by learning English. All of Beijing has caught ‘ying wen re’ – literally ‘study English fever.’ The government’s goal is to teach 10 million people, from school kids to taxi drivers, conversational English so that they can act as hosts to the hoards of tourists preparing to descend on the country for the event.
As the producers describe it, ‘More than just an English fad, Mad About English! captures the new China in all its glory. As many Chinese see the Olympics as the nation’s coming-out party and a milestone in its ascent to power, anticipation of the games is fuelling a surge of national pride and a ferocious hunger to speak the language of the world.’
Though any doc on China can hardly avoid the topic, this is a film that shows the human side of Chinese citizens, rather than just objectify them as political or historical pawns.
Partners: Journey Pictures distributed through Looking Glass International
Wrapping: April 2008
Length: 60 or 90 minutes
Rights available: Worldwide