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China’s Challenges: Are the Chinese People Happy?

Distributed by Film Ideas, 308 North Wolf Rd., Wheeling, IL 60090; 800-475-3456
Produced by Shanghai Media Group and the Kuhn Foundation
Directed by Peter Getzels
DVD , color, 52 min.
College - General Adult
Asia, Sociology

Reviewed by Jessica Schomberg, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Date Entered: 3/14/2014

In this documentary, host Robert Lawrence Kuhn asks the question: Are the Chinese people happy? While happiness is never defined, this question seems to be answered by exploring problems in healthcare, education, housing, and retirement.

In each section, Kuhn frankly identifies why those social issues are of concern, talks with individuals affected, and outlines government reforms that have been put in place to address structural inequalities. As each segment is brief, the film does not have time to thoroughly explore the history and politics surrounding each issue. However, it does provide a nice overview and Kuhn’s easy engagement with the people he interviews made this a surprisingly charming viewing experience.

The film primarily features interviews and on-location footage at hospitals, schools, and retirement facilities. Narration is in English, dialog chiefly in Chinese with English subtitles. No closed-captions or optional subtitles are provided. Includes public performance rights.