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A Day to Remember

Wangque de Yitian
Wei Liu
2005 China 13'
©Liu Wei

Equipped with a DV camera, the filmmaker visits the Peking University and Tian An Men Square. In the underground carriages, a notice announces: “Disinfected today”. It is 4th June 2005. The filmmaker questions passers-by: what day is it today? What is the date? Those he asks avoid answering, as the subject is taboo. Few mention 4th June 1989 and the student movement. The younger people may simply not know. Others cautiously respect the law of silence or stick to official formulas.

In 2006, Marie-Pierre Duhamel-Muller included four films by young Chinese filmmakers in her selection. The headline in Le Monde at the time was “A new generation of Chinese documentary filmmakers”. Among them, Liu Wei, an artist who is now recognised and exhibited throughout the world, makes a political and subversive gesture that is radical, calm and thoughtful. A gesture to commemorate. The english title is “A Day to Remember”, which Marie-Pierre had chosen to translate as “Ce quatre juin-là”. For thirteen minutes on 4 June 2005, Liu Wei asks passers-by in Tiananmen Square the same question: “What day is it? In 2005, asking the question was already dangerous. On the night of 3 to 4 June 1989 in Tiananmen Square, Chinese army tanks attacked students who had been demanding more democracy for several weeks. To the official death toll (241), we now know that several thousand must be added… That was 30 years ago.

Catherine Bizern

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