Double Happiness in review

Double Happiness in review

Double Happiness, 74 Min., DCP, (Subtitles available: german, english, chinese)

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—> „Stylistically, Double Happiness is constructed as an impressionistic collage, incorporating traditional talking-head interviews with stunningly shot imagery of both Hallstatts as well as other areas of China, and musical interludes that seem to wryly imitate karaoke videos. Raidel has created, a thoughtful, diverting work as playful as it is provocative.“

—>  „This surreal, exquisitely framed documentary looks at the construction of a near-exact replica of a scenic Austrian town—cobblestone by cobblestone—in an undeveloped Chinese tract of land. In a style both entrancing and playful, the film questions the difference between real and imagined, model and reality, raising thought-provoking questions about the nature of authenticity and happiness. Features insightful interviews with urban planners, designers, and trailblazing Beijing architect Ma Yansong.“ Anthony Kaufman/Chicago International Filmfestival

—> “A wild, almost surreal doc”, Anthony Kaufman/Chicago Tribune

—>  „Near Huizhou, China, stands a replica of the idyllic mountain village of Hallstatt, Austria—a staging ground for provocative questions about tradition and innovation, copying and creativity, and contemporary China’s gaze toward the West. As Western countries increasingly imported cheap Chinese commodities, the economic giant began to construct an idealized European past into a vast simulacrum of luxury playgrounds for the rich. In the last two decades, China has observed an explosion in theme parks meant to both miniaturize the landscape of China and represent the entirety of the world. But these pronounced locations are just a symptom of a much larger transformation of territory. A television journalist ponders, “perhaps in ten years we won’t be eligible to call ourselves Chinese anymore,” as the landscape increasingly takes on the character of Western nations. Ella Raidel’s refreshingly thoughtful and sumptuously photographed essay film offers an unusual mirror to the West through the lens of contemporary China.“ Eli Horwatt/Hot Docs Toronto 2015

—>  „Ella Raidel overlaps what was carved by time over what money quickly erected, con-fusing both cities in a virtuous way, and tempting the limits in which the idyllic turns into a nightmare, and reality becomes pure simulation.“ BAFICI 2015

—>  You never quite known if what you are seeing is ‚real‘ in its disorienting, but extremely precise arrangement of location footage and miniature models, as well as of TV shows and interviews with Chinese architects and urban planners. But is authenticity a part of a present, where the world’s new economic superpower is in the process of redefining itself and its history? From a strange place between an imported idea of a romantic past that never way, and an uncertain future in the name of unbridled capitalism, Chinese engineers are in the process of creating a bubble of security, where everything is completely under control – and where only the richest of the rich can afford to live. CPH:DOX* 2014

—>  Wo sind wir, wenn eine hübsche Chinesin im Dirndl den Mond ansingt: „Meine Zuneigung ist echt“? Offenbar in einem feuchten kapitalistischen Traum. Denn Hallstatt/China ist ein luxuriöses Investmentprojekt und nur ein Nebenprodukt des gigantischen Baubooms. Wo bleiben „wir“ und unsere Kultur dabei, fragen chinesische Architekten und Stadtplaner. Der Film entdeckt ein an sich zweifelndes China und verweist zugleich mit seiner clever verschachtelten Erzählstruktur ironisch auf „uns“ Europäer zurück. Auch die Identitätskrise verdoppelt sich. Lars Meyer/Dok Leipzig 2014