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Turn It On: Karamay

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Event organized by Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

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Karamay克拉玛依, 2010
Directed by Xu Xin徐辛
Mandarin with English subtitles, 356 min.

On December 8, 1994, the Karamay Municipal Education Commission in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region convened 796 students and teachers at the Karamay Friendship Theater for a performance. The theater, built in 1958 and renovated in 1992, was a city landmark and the center of its political activities. The fire that broke out that day caused 323 deaths and over 130 injuries. The victims were mostly young children; all the municipal leaders survived. The government has since forbidden any memorial activities in front of the theater. This film interweaves archival footage and personal accounts from parents, teachers, and survivors ranging from descriptions of the scene to skeptical reflections on society, ethnicity, the education system, and the law.

Part of the film festival “Turn It On: China on Film, 2000–2017” cocurated by Ai Weiwei and Wang Fen.

Film screenings are free with museum admission.

Organized by the Guggenheim Museum in conjunction with Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World. Presented in collaboration with PEN America. Support is provided by The Hayden Family Foundation.