There are two things that every university student must do, says young idealist Zhao Changtong: get a job in the students’ union, and fall in love. It sounds like pretty standard practice for students anywhere in the world. Except most students’ unions don’t have a Department of Propaganda.
We first see the young patriot of the title dressed in military fatigues, shouting about taking action in places like Tibet. But the clandestine Coke can that Zhao carries in his pocket signals the beginning of the end, as political upheavals and family crises threaten his deep-seated love for his country.
A Young Patriot is a fascinating insight into the identity crisis facing Chinese millennials, but there’s something universal about Zhao’s cultural revolution; something that any young student can relate to.
DIRECTOR: Du Haibin
SYNOPSIS: A Young Patriot examines the concept and practice of patriotism among youngsters in China born after 1989.
Sheffield Doc/Fest 2015 ran from June 5th-10th 2015. One Room With A View’s coverage is available here.