I Am Here
Though intended as a dissection of fame and the idol worshiping youth culture of China, I Am Here fails to elevate its subject matter by coming across as dull and lifeless, packing only a handful of real emotion.
Millions clamour to their television sets every week for the staggeringly popular singing competition/reality program Super Boy. The shows pits young male singers against an audience vote in a competition setting, placing the boys into their own ‘barracks’ with cameras everywhere recording their every move and the murmur of their adoring fans seeping in from outside.
Where Fan Lixin’s film does work is in the raw and rare moments caught between the boys and their elders, including mentors, producers, crew and such, where the adults act more like selfish brats than the shell-shocked youth do, verbally berating the boys and forcing calisthenics as punishment for flubbing lines during a performance. The way this show is run from behind the scenes is appalling and it’s remarkable it’s lasted as long as it has.
Ultimately though, the boys shown on screen do very little to allow the audience in, as we go through the entire 2013 competition with very little dramatic or narrative momentum. They may be household names in China, but the rest of world will still be wondering who they are after the film has finished. (Kirk Haviland)
Tuesday, September 9th, 6:30pm, Scotiabank 1
Thursday, September 11th, 12:30pm, Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
Sunday, September 14th, 9:00pm, Scotiabank 11