China’s Van Goghs

There’s a village in China that you have never heard of, even though you probably know their main produce. At the village, an army of artists make copies of classic European paintings. Film makers Haibo Yu and Kiki Tianqi Yu take us on a trip to see how this well-greased art factory works.

China’s Van Goghs is a documentary film taking us to another reality: the Dafen village in the Shenzhen region. In Dafen, the hard-working painters copy the works of Vincent van Gogh and other masters. These copies are sold in thousands of tourist shops and stores around the world. The demand is high and orders come in hundreds and thousands. The workshops operate round the clock. The workers never get rich, of course. That’s how it goes. Even so, one of them has big dreams. Xiaoyong Zhao wants to travel to Netherlands to see what the van Goghs really look like.

China’s Van Goghs is a film about one man’s dream, but also about the crazy world we live in. And, more than anything, it is a film about the China of the 2010’s. A China where workers labour from dawn to dusk, taxi drivers keep Mao on their dashboard and a theme park is based on European sights. China that foreigners buy piece by piece, but only the pieces they like. It is a one big hurly-burly. And if you live in the middle of it and question yourself as an artist, the future may seem quite uncertain-

Susanna Peltonen / Translation: Tuomo Karvonen

Language: Chinese
Subtitles: English

  • Director: Yu Haibo, Yu Kiki Tianqi
  • Country: China
  • Year: 2016
  • Length: 80 min
  • Age limit: null
  • Cinematography: Yu Haibo
  • Editing: Søren Bilsted Ebbe, Axel Skodal Roelofs, Tom Tsinming Lin
  • Production: Kiki Tianqi Yu / Century Image Media


  • Cinema Artis, hall 2: Sunday 29.01 - 18:30