CRAZY ENGLISH

China, 1999 (MIFF 2000, Documentaries)

Director: Zhang Yuan

"What is the most concrete way to love your country?... To love your country is to study English well!... Crazy English! Crazy life! Crazy work! Crazy study! Crazy everyday! I want to be crazy! I love this crazy game"—Li Yang

Welcome to the world of Li Yang, China's most famous motivational speaker. Lecturing students, citizens and the Peoples Liberation Army at the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and various stadiums, this charismatic orator has to be seen to be believed. Li leads his massive audiences on a joy ride through American English, in order to build a strong country and to make 'international money'. Gradually it becomes clear that there is a darker side to Li's nationalist feelings. After all, he can make his students shout out anything he wants. Director Zhang Yuan's direct, crisp approach casually exposes the mechanisms of demagogy and mass hysteria. Crazy English provides a fascinating insight into contemporary China. An extremely perceptive film about a passionate man and the creation of a popular hero.


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