China love takes us on a billion-dollar ride of fantasy exploring contemporary
china through the window of the pre-wedding photography industry.
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China Love, a documentary released last year by Australian filmmaker Olivia Martin-McGuire, takes a close look at China's pre-wedding photo industry. We meet couples young and old who celebrate love while also being honest about their anxieties. What if, the second the shutter snaps, is the best moment of their life?
Olivia is deeply fascinated by the Chinese people's behavior of constructing dreams in a flourishing environment. She believes that China has only emerged from a painful history in a very short period of time and at a very fast speed. The conflicts between contemporary youth and the older generation burst out through exquisite wedding photos; and the interesting act of taking wedding photos has become a unique platform for every Chinese to build new dreams and create memories.
Trouwen in China komt met de nodige merkwaardigheden. Een van de bijzondere aspecten van een Chinees huwelijk is, dat het administratief huwelijk bij de ambtenaar van de burgerlijke stand, het maken van trouwfoto’s en de bruiloft niet op dezelfde dag vallen en vaak maanden uit elkaar liggen. Die huwelijksreportage, die meestal maanden voor de bruiloft gemaakt wordt, is ook heel anders dan wij in Nederland gewend zijn. De Australische fotografe en filmmaakster Olivia Martin-McGuire neemt ons in haar documentaire China Love mee in de wereld van de Chinese trouwfotografie.
China Love film delves into country’s billion-dollar pre-wedding photo industry.
Pei-Pei and Xuezhong live in Shanghai’s French Concession. They married in 1968 and, as was typical for the time, have just one small black-and-white wedding photo.
“Pre-wedding photography could never have happened in 1968 because of the Cultural Revolution,” says Xuezhong, referring to the upheaval that took place under Mao Zedong, from 1966 to 1976. “Colourful clothing was not allowed. We had no choice.”
They did choose, however, to create new memories by having the wedding photos of their dreams taken decades later in a modern setting.
Martin-McGuire shows the power of photography and how the camera is helping ‘a nation build new memories’. But, does the illusion come with a price by setting unachievable expectations and goals for a young husband and wife? Will the pre-wedding photographs eventually represent failure and what could have been instead of what is?
Only time will tell.
Matrimoni cinesi super lussuosi Arrivare al matrimonio scortati da un bel corteo di 30 supercar ridipinte di rosa, con labbroni in gommapiuma rosso shocking applicati sul cofano?
When she visited China for the first time in 2004, Australian-born photographer-turned-director Olivia Martin-McGuire fell in love with its “pioneering spirit and upbeat pace”. A decade later she found herself living in Shanghai with her husband and children. Over the course of four years in the city, Martin-McGuire became fascinated by love and romance in Chinese society – in particular the phenomenon of the lavish pre-wedding photos.
In 21st century China, it's custom for bethrothed couples to spend small fortunes on glamorous portraits, taken months in advance of their wedding. China Love invited viewers on a tour of this weird and wonderful world.
In one room, a forest of concrete tree trunks and plastic leaves gives way to a hidden door that opens to a European-style hallway. In another room, the sky is filled with artificial moon-glow and stars. In yet another room, there’s a beach with a vivid blue-sky backdrop and fake coconut trees.
Olivia Martin-McGuire, director of the China Love documentary, believes Chinese people are now displaying their wealth because it hadn't been possible in the past, particularly for people who lived through the decade-long Cultural Revolution.
Outrageous at the onset, but ultimately poignant, China Love pulls back the veil on the titular nation’s wedding photography industry, which at last count generated billions of dollars annually. That is an astounding figure, all the more so considering no such industry existed four decades ago, an era in which marriages were typically arranged and photographs were verboten. Director Olivia Martin-McGuire profiles several couples living in modern-day Shanghai to gauge the full effects of this relatively new phenomenon. Some of them have impending nuptials, while others married during the Cultural Revolution five decades ago or even further back in time.
If you've seen the film Crazy Rich Asians, you will know that some couples spare no expense when it comes to having the finest wedding.
China Love begins by fastidiously documenting the phenomenon of elaborate pre-wedding photography in modern-day China. We’re introduced to dozens of brides-to-be shot in unbelievable gowns surrounded in unbelievable settings. We witness elaborate underwater setups, shots where couples are made to seem like they are floating in air, and every kind of fantasy made real. The film immediately springs to life, aided by bouncing editing, upbeat tempos—I thought of the kinetic energy of box-office smash Crazy Rich Asians.
A must for any newly engaged Chinese couple is the pre-wedding photo shoot. A marked break from the austere, purely functional weddings of the generation who grew up in the shadow of the Cultural Revolution, this multibillion dollar industry is the ultimate display of romance, status and wealth. Take a trip through modern-day Shanghai following couples on their crazed quest for the perfect photos. It’s a fantasy ride of glitz, excess, glamour and love.
Interview with Director/Producer Olivia Martin-McGuire
Perhaps the most emotionally effective part of the documentary, which recently played DOC NYC, deals with a nonprofit that provides photographic memories to the generation of couples who lived during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. These couples — including one that has been married for 69 years — apply the makeup, put on the dresses and hold their loved ones with great affection. The resulting photos will bring a tear to the eye of the viewer. The customs may not be liked by everyone who has to go through them, but real love makes its way through the flashbulbs and extravagance.
Contemporary engaged couples in China are now putting on the ultimate display of romance, status and wealth as they embark on their quest for the perfect photos. Their fantasy rides of glitz, excess, glamour and love are being highlighted in the new documentary, ‘China Love,’ which was directed and produced by Australian filmmaker, Olivia Martin-McGuire. In honor of the movie premiering in the U.S. this Friday, November 9 at 7:45pm ET at Cinepolis Chelsea in Manhattan, as part of DOC NYC, ShockYa is premiering an exclusive clip from the documentary.
Set to enjoy its U.S. premiere as part of DOC NYC on Friday, November 9, China Love takes a look at Chinese culture through the lens of pre-wedding photography (?!).
On initial blush, it sounds like quite a narrow focus; however, Olivia Martin-McGuire's documentary goes wide, encompassing the changes that have swept through China over the past few decades, and how that's affected its citizens.
That’s according to Olivia Martin-McGuire, an Australian photographer who became intrigued by China’s billion-dollar pre-wedding photography industry while living in Shanghai for four years. Her film debut, China Love, is an empathetic take on how the country’s tumultuous history since the Cultural Revolution has influenced its present day.
Your wedding day is meant to be one of the most magical days of your life. It’s a day that many of us have dreamed about throughout our childhoods and have been looking forward to for months. But for couples in China, there’s actually one day far before the wedding day that’s more important. The day of their pre-wedding photo shoot.
She was at The Bund in Shanghai, and had arrived early. The director of the Australian documentary Red Obsession, who she would be photographing, was still 20 minutes away. And so she was struck by this vast number of brides posing for photos – what she would later discover was one of up to seven backdrop and location changes for the booming billion dollar industry of pre-wedding photography shoots.
An Australian expat who has lived in China for four years, Martin-McGuire respectfully plays the role of an outsider looking in. What results is a fascinating film that ends up delving into Chinese history, culture and social customs. In the lead up to film’s launch in Australia, Kevin Hawkins chatted to filmmaker and photographer Olivia Martin-McGuire about China Love, her storytelling process and being an Australian in China.
“I want to have wedding photos underwater,” comes the unexpected request from a bride-to-be.
It sounds like a dream, but for China’s ‘Godfather of the pre-wedding photo industry’, it’s not only achievable, but something thousands of brides, not just a stereotyped bridezilla, are willing to pay a lot of money for.
From the comfort of Australia it’s easy to roll our eyes about some of the peculiar habits of those living elsewhere in the world. China’s unusual obsession with pre-wedding photography, the practice where almost-married couples dress up for elaborate photoshoots in fantastical settings, is seemingly perfect fodder for our amusement. But director Olivia Martin McGuire’s documentary does not exist to poke fun at this unlikely cultural phenomenon; rather she reserves judgement and uses this novel topic as a starting point to produce a thought-provoking and nuanced piece of journalism about many interesting facets of modern China.
If you’ve ever travelled to the world’s most famous locations and seen Chinese bridal couples posing for over-the-top photo shoots, there’s no need to congratulate them yet for their Big Day. Why? Because often the actual wedding could still be another six months away!
Chinese wedding photo guru Allen Shi says Aussie couples should get pictures before their big day.
FORGET the traditional wedding day pictures, we should be copying the Chinese and organising the photographic shoot six months or a year ahead of the ceremony.
That’s the advice of the “godfather” of China’s $80 billion wedding photography business
Her documentary China Love, set in and around Shanghai, explores how “the future is living together with the past” in modern China through a look at China’s burgeoning wedding industry. This industry – now worth over 80 billion dollars – is deeply emblematic of the cultural change, and it’s through this lens that Martin-McGuire uncovers some of the challenges facing modern Chinese society.
China Love is her first feature length documentary and the film is currently in competition at the Sydney Film Festival. The director is supported by a crew of considerable female power, including editor Bernadette Murray and producers Rebecca Barry and Madeleine Hetherton, founders of Media Stockade and directors of award winning documentaries in their own right.
SYDNEY, June 13 (Xinhua) -- A new documentary showcasing Chinas profound love of wedding photography will premiere at the Sydney Film Festival on Wednesday evening, with audiences buzzing about the behind-the-scenes look into the multi-billion dollar industry.
I was working as a photojournalist and I arrived early for a job for The Australian Financial Review (AFR). I was actually shooting the director of Red Obsession in Shanghai at The Roosevelt Hotel on the Bund. I was taken aback by handfuls of bridal couples being photographed against the sandstone walls, and then picking up their dresses to reveal white sneakers and running to another wall to set up another photo.