ASCENSION is an impressionistic portrait of China’s industrial supply chain that reveals the country’s growing class divide through staggering observations of labor, consumerism and wealth. To outsiders, China presents somewhat of a paradox: a nominally communist nation that exemplifies the enormous wealth creation of a hyper-capitalist nation. In recent years, President Xi Jinping has popularized the term “Chinese Dream”—an explicit nod to the path of personal upward mobility that made the United States the envy of the twentieth century. While it is an open-ended phrase, the CCP has used it to signify China’s return as a world superpower through military and economic strength. The dream is collective, and it is determined by the Party, from the top down. But what does the dream look like on an individual level, from the bottom up? This is the gaze of ASCENSION. ASCENSION portrays capitalism in China across the levels of its operation, from the crudest mine to the most rarefied forms of leisure. Accordingly, the film is structured in three parts, ascending through the levels of the capitalist structure: workers running factory production, the middle class training for and selling to aspirational consumers, and the elites reveling in a new level of hedonistic enjoyment. The film juxtaposes these very different spaces to show a hidden but intrinsic connectedness. In traveling up the rungs of China’s social ladder, we see how each level supports and makes possible the next; simultaneously we see how true upward mobility between its levels largely remains an elusive fantasy. Though the levels exist side by side, ascension is a journey across generations, benefiting a few individuals on the rise at the expense of many.
Tue March 29, 2022, 7:30 PM, Muenzinger Auditorium
10 films for $60 with punch card
$9 general admission.
$7 w/UCB student ID,
$7 for senior citizens
$1 discount to anyone with a bike helmet
Free on your birthday! CU Cinema Studies students get in free.
Pay lot 360 (now only $1/hour!), across from the buffalo statue and next to the
Duane Physics tower, is closest to Muenzinger. Free parking can be found after 5pm at the meters
along Colorado Ave east of Folsom stadium and along University Ave west of Macky.
Park elsewhere and catch the HOP to campus
International Film Series
(Originally called The University Film Commission)
Established 1941 by James Sandoe.
First Person Cinema
(Originally called The Experimental Cinema Group)
Established 1955 by Carla Selby, Gladney Oakley, Bruce Conner and Stan Brakhage.
C.U. Film Program
(AKA The Rocky Mountain Film Center)
First offered degrees in filmmaking and critical studies in 1989 under the guidance of Virgil
Created by Suranjan Ganguly in 2003.
C.U. Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts
Established 2017 by Chair Ernesto Acevedo-Muñoz.
Thank you, sponsors!
Looking for a gift for a friend?
Buy a Frequent Patron Punch Card for $60 at any IFS show.
With the punch card you can see ten films (a value of $90).
IFS tickets are only available at the door on day of show. With 400 seats and
rare sell-outs, by arriving a bit early you're almost certainly guaranteed a
seat. We're happy to save seats for anyone traveling from afar--just let us
know how many people are in your group by email. Tickets go on sale 30 minutes
Virtual screenings from independent distributors support the IFS through revenue
sharing. When you watch these theatrical releases at home, the distributor will
split the proceeds 50/50 with the IFS. Prices vary.
First Person Cinema events screen in the VAC basement auditorium on select Mondays.
Celebrating Stan screens in ATLAS 100. Admission is free.
IFS screens films in Muenzinger Auditorium, west of Folsom Football Stadium.
Admission (unless otherwise noted):
$9 general admission,
$7 w/UCB student ID,
$7 for senior citizens.
10 films for $60 with punch card.
We give a $1 discount to anyone with a bike helmet, and you can see movies for
free on your birthday, or if you are assisting someone in a wheelchair. Credit
cards are accepted at the door.
If you want to be guaranteed a seat please arrive early. Tickets go on sale
30 minutes before showtime.