A "Chinese dream" of British Oscar-winning director

Xinhua
Malcolm Clarke, a two-time Oscar-winning director from the United Kingdom, has a "Chinese dream" – building a "bridge" with films connecting China and the West.
Xinhua

Malcolm Clarke, a two-time Oscar-winning director from the United Kingdom, has a "Chinese dream" — building a "bridge" with films connecting China and the West.

Having worked in the film industry for more than 40 years, Clarke has traveled to over 80 countries to shoot documentaries and feature films.

In the 1980s, Clarke visited China for the first time. After nine months of traveling and shooting, the country left a deep impression on him as "a rural, poor and difficult place to be."

When returning to the country in 2013 for a documentary on China-US relations, he was taken aback by the extraordinary changes that had taken place.

Towering skyscrapers, vibrant and energetic cities... the country has become "barely recognizable" to him. "The rise of China is the biggest going-on story of the 21st century," he told Xinhua in an interview on Thursday to mark the Shanghai release of a short film he features in. The film tells the great changes China has undergone since the reform and opening up through the eyes of people like Clarke.

"No other country had achieved what China had in such a short span of time," he said. Struck by the thought of showing the world what is happening in China, he decided to make Shanghai his home, and China has since become a major topic of his films.

The film release day also marked the one-year anniversary of the lifting of the 76-day lockdown in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, once hit hard by COVID-19. Clarke was one of those who experienced the epidemic in the city.

After the outbreak of COVID-19, Clarke and his team took a risk and spent 55 days in Wuhan shooting a documentary, recording scenes from residents' daily lives and their fight against the epidemic during the trying period.

He was impressed by the quick and efficient epidemic prevention and control measures China had taken, like building makeshift hospitals. "People of my film crew were staggered and hugely impressed with what China had done against COVID-19," he said. "That's a story that we need to tell the world."

With a wide array of exclusive footage, the documentary is still in post-production. Clarke hopes when completed, more people will recognize China's contribution to the global fight against COVID-19.

Currently, he is making a six-episode series, telling the story of a British professor's life in China. "A picture is worth a thousand words," he said, noting that he will try his best to promote the West's understanding of the country through his eyes and lens.

"It's a drop in the ocean, but I hope my films can make people take a better look at China and appreciate it," he said.

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