Film Review: Eternal Spring

Following the Second World War, the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949. Under the iron fist of Chairman Mao, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) maintained a tight control over its population which, despite directional change, remains to this day. They have ensured that no ideology has been allowed to challenge their prevailing ideals. In the 1990s, the rise of Falun Gong posed an existential threat.

Falun Gong is a religious practice based on meditation, controlled breathing and energy exercises. Combined with a moral philosophy which takes many of its elements from Buddhism. Its rapid rise in popularity and demands for freedom from government interference led to persecution and it eventually being outlawed. In 2002, a small group of followers fought back. Their daring actions, and the repercussions, are charted in Eternal Spring.

Using beautiful 3D comic book style animation, along with contemporary interviews, Eternal Spring is a powerful critique of state oppression. Jason Loftus’ documentary focuses on illustrator Daxiong, whose work he brings to life, a practitioner forced to flee China himself. He blamed the perpetrators for the violent repercussions, but has subsequently reassessed his opinion. Playing somewhere between political thriller and human rights documentary, Eternal Spring is an unmissable film.

Eternal Spring will screen at Dances With Films on 15 June.

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