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Rave Reviews of LOST COURSE

Updated: Mar 7

Opening March 5 at

Film at Lincoln Center

BAMPFA

Laemmle Theaters

More info on virtual theatrical release - click here.


Learn more about LOST COURSE here.



NEW YORK TIMES CRITICS PICK!

Lost Course Review: When A Village Fights Back

By Ben Kenigsberg

Broadly adhering to a vérité style, Li builds a case that active civic engagement in China inevitably leads to trouble — or else further corruption.


Lost Course Puts Us On The Inside Of A Small Chinese Village's Big Protest

by Robert Abele, The Los Angeles Times

A village in southern China becomes a hotbed of democratic reform — with complicated aftereffects — in Jill Li’s epic political documentary “Lost Course,” a remarkable feat of embedded journalism for a first-time feature filmmaker. Filmed over several years in which hope-buoyed protesters wrestle with the consequences of hard-won change, this two-part, three-hour film is marked by immediacy and breadth, as if an on-the-fly news bulletin had naturally morphed into the richest of character-driven sagas.

Lost Course Review

by Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter

The doc is charged with energy, anger and disappointment. ...[I]t sweeps the viewer into the center of a bold, fledgling grassroots democratic movement in the surprising setting of rural China.



The People's Demands Are Lawful: Jill Li's Lost Course

by Matt Turner, The Brooklyn Rail

Every individual is affected by this journey they undertake together, facing the prospect of compromise and corruption on the one side, and the real, increasingly routine-seeming risk of losing their lives or livelihoods on the other. Li’s characterization of each of her subjects is nuanced, giving each activist space and screen-time through which to develop into something believably complex and often contradictory.



Lost Course Is a Steadfast Look at a Chinese Resistance Movement

by William Repass, Slant Magazine

The film takes its time, not only to explore Wukan’s struggle as a process, in microcosm, of Chinese politics, but to develop a character study of those involved... Li’s camera remains steadfastly sympathetic. Because her politics are only hinted at through that sympathy, she leaves the viewer to learn from and interpret the situation how they will.

People Have The Power

by Michael Fox, KQED

“The three-hour film benefits from exceptional access and remarkable candor, providing a close-up perspective on grass-roots idealism and on-the-fly strategizing.”

Lost Course Review

by Bill Bria, Vague Visages

“The easiest and best way to remove all ‘entertainment’ aspects that would seem to dilute a documentary’s journalistic ability is to present material as unexpurgated and raw as possible. This is precisely what director Jill Li has done with Lost Course, a film whose power lies not in editorializing but keen observation.”

Lost Course Review: An Epic Look at Democracy, Power, and the Pitfalls of Idealism in South China

by Artemis Lin, The Film Stage

“Li displays a shrewd knack for non-fiction storytelling, knowing what footage to keep and where for maximum impact, and how to keep all the complex moving parts going at a steady pace. Like a good thriller, Lost Course even sets up a minor mystery in its earliest minutes that viewers will forget during all the twisted, winding turns of the movie, only to be brought back at the end for a grand reveal. Importantly, though Li guides the story in a certain direction, she’s also careful not to cast judgment on those who appear in the film. Characters and events are presented from multiple angles, narrated by villagers with differing views. It’s up to the viewer to decide who to trust, who is right or wrong, and even if anything was truly won.”

Lost Course Review

by Steve Kopian, Unseen Films

I was enraptured for the whole running time. I just sat and watched the screen and let things wash over me, too engrossed to really take notes.

Lost Course Review

by Sarah Ward, Screen International

[Li] helps splice Lost Course into an urgent and energetic affair. Its title makes plain that there is no happy ending in store here, but nothing about this complex documentary veers in the wrong direction.


Lost Course Review

by Joe Bendel, J.B. Spins

Li shows us how the promise of Wukan was lost in raw and brutally honest terms. Very highly recommended.


Up Against It

by Kelly Vance, East Bay Express

A fascinating glimpse into working-class Chinese politics.
dGenerate Films c/o Icarus Films  |  
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