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Cinema pending FASHION: a screening of WE WERE SMART (2019)

22nd November 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Known for outrageous hairstyles and a punk attitude, Shamate (or “Smart”) was a subculture popular in late 2000s China among teenage migrants doing gruelling factory work to survive. Just a few years later, a massive popular backlash forced the Shamate (or “Smart”) subculture off the internet and out of the streets. Why was this aesthetic so reviled by the rest of China? Where did Smart come from, and who killed it?

Li Yifan’s fascinating documentary WE WERE SMART (2019) tells the story from the perspective of the Smarts themselves. From their testimony and cellphone video recordings, a picture emerges of an economic boom powered by ruthless exploitation. These young people fought back against their conditions the only way they could – building community through a unique and exciting fashion culture.

The film will be introduced by:
-Asa Roast, China scholar and critical geographer
-@Tonblackberry, admin of Leeds EGL, a Japanese street fashion community

CONTENT NOTICE: the film contains explicit scenes of industrial injury and self-harm, as well as discussion of domestic violence.

Certificate TBC, not suitable for under 18s. Runtime 125 minutes.

Advance tickets sliding scale, on the door £7.50. No one turned away for lack of funds.

Wharf Chambers is a members’ club and you need to be a member, or guest of a member, in order to attend. To join, please visit https://wharfchambers.org/membership/. Membership costs £2 and requires a minimum of 48 hours to take effect.

Wharf Chambers operates a safer spaces policy. To learn more, please visit https://wharfchambers.org/safer-spaces/


22nd November 2023
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm