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China is creating a comprehensive, digitally controlled state using Big Data, biometrics and voice recognition technology to track its citizens. Total Trust examines the transformation of social behaviours under the all-seeing eye of government surveillance and how people are fighting back against its abuse. Since the “709 Crackdown”—a nationwide campaign to suppress the dissenting voices of Chinese citizens, during which lawyers, journalists and human rights activists were disappeared, tortured and arrested for “subversion of state power” without clear law or application—the stakes have been tacitly set. A pair of detained lawyers and their families provide an example of both the personal and political ramifications of speaking out, mirroring each others’ predicament and reflecting how the government uses absence and presence, control and self-control, internal and external mechanisms to monitor and imprison people, even in their own homes. The boiling frog apologue is seasoned with Kafkaesque and Orwellian allusions in this eerily well-timed foreshadowing of Chinese surveillance, inside its borders…and beyond? Angie Driscoll

Streaming online May 5-9. Streaming is only available in Canada.


  • Director(s)

    • Jialing Zhang
  • Producer(s)

    • Knut Jäger
    • Michael Grotenhoff
    • Saskia Kress
    • Jialing Zhang
  • Executive Producer(s)

    • Michael Grotenhoff
    • Saskia Kress
    • Thomas Tielsch
  • Writer(s)

    • Jialing Zhang
  • Editor(s)

    • Claire Shen (Anonymous)
    • Barbara Toennieshen
  • Cinematography

    • Cuier (Anonymous)
    • RCS (Anonymous)
    • J.V. Chi. (Anonymous)

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