A new documentary Beijing Punks by Australian filmmaker Shaun Jefford follows the underground music movement, which has also been documented recently by photographer Matthew Niederhauser. A trailer for the film:
And a longer clip:
And an interview with Jefford on SPIN Earth, in which he says, “Beijing remains for me the land of great music, kindred spirits and unspeakable hangovers”:
How did you go about choosing the bands and music scene experts interviewed in the film?
A Punk in China? Not the first association you make so a lot of it was me charmed by the punks and them laughing at me laughing at them. But what really cemented the friendship, I think, is that I am a writer and I am a lyric person. I chose bands whose lyrics I was interested in and who said things that rang true to my sense of truth. And there is a lot of strident truth being sung in Beijing, let me tell you.
Demerit particularly is saying some heavy things, positive but heavy, punk and deep. The lead singer Spike has a hard core opinion in a police state. Songs like “Fight your Apathy”, “Voice of the People” and particularly “Live or Die” really make you think; “would I be singing this song and putting this CD out in China?” That takes brass balls. I really dig that Spike and Demerit are living the punk life and not just wearing it.
More information and clips about the film can be seen on the Beijing Punk site.