Une crèche en Chine / An orphanage in China, 2014

Un crèche en Chine / An orphanage in China (2014, HD, 30 min)

A film about the daily presence of colonialism in our bodies, education, and the ways histories are written.

To watch the trailer, click here.

The point of departure is an engraving of a French orphanage in late 19th century China. On the back of the seemingly benign image, published in a French illustrated magazine, the filmmaker discovers a racist propaganda text in praise of the “progress” brought by French missions to China. Through a variety of interviews with activists and researchers set in Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam, the film explores the tension within the image and the colonial enterprise it is supposed to justify. The interviewees, who bring to our awareness very distinct inflections and reflections on what the colonial image is saying, are Aretha Apithy (educationist and colonialism researcher), Houria Bouteldja (activist), Ramón Grosfoguel (sociologist), and Hu Ying (professor for East Asian literatures). As the interviewees interpret the image, they uncover aspects of current relevance, such as neocolonial structures in today’s educational programs, conceptions of Western museums and the amnesia in Germany towards its own colonial history. Finally, the film describes how histories are written in our bodies. The filmmaker weaves in her own personal comments along with the interviews. In this weaving, she finds a connection between the neocolonial discourse of “progress” and the violence that is at the center of modernity. She concludes by questioning her own Western-oriented education in Peru and abroad, as well as the colonial languages she was socialized with during her childhood.