Institute Film Series: People's Republic of Desire

China has seen an incredible rise in online streaming, and live streamers often earn significant sums of money attracting and maintaining online followers. People’s Republic of Desire, a 2018 film produced, directed, and filmed by Hao Wu, documents an industry that was reported in 2018 as generating $4.4 billion in revenue. The film follows two online streamers, Shen Man, a young former nurse, and Big Li, previously a hotel security guard. In the New York Times, Ken Jaworowski writes that People’s Republic of Desire “is ultimately a contemplation of internet fame and social isolation,” but it also signals new modes of making money that are characteristic of present times. The film won Best Documentary Feature at the SXSW Film Festival in 2018.

This film runs 1 hour and 35 minutes.

A post-screening discussion will be led by Horacio Ortiz, Member in the School of Social Science and Associate Professor at the Research Institute of Anthropology, East China Normal University; and Julia Chuang, Visitor in the School of Social Science and Assistant Professor of Sociology, Boston College.

This is the fourth film in the series Economy and Society, curated by the School of Social Science.

Reception to follow in the Fuld Hall Common Room

The event is free and open to the public.

Please note that food and drink are not allowed in Wolfensohn Hall.

Date & Time

February 12, 2020 | 4:00pm – 6:30pm


Wolfensohn Hall


People’s Republic of Desire

Event Series