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Since Asia Society’s successful in-person screenings of Ascension in New York and Los Angeles in December 2021, the accolades for director Jessica Kingdon’s documentary continue to grow. The critically-acclaimed film about China’s class divide is now shortlisted as one of 15 films in the Documentary Feature category for the 94th Academy Awards.

In response to popular demand, Asia Society at the Movies is excited to present Ascension once again with a special weekend-long virtual screening available to our global network.

Mesmerizing in its imagery and shot over four years in 51 locations across the country, Ascension is a cinematic exploration of China’s industrial supply chain that reveals the country’s growing class divide through staggering observations of labor, consumerism, and wealth. The film ascends through the levels of the capitalist structure: workers working on the factory floor, the middle class selling to aspirational consumers, and the elites reveling in a new level of privileged hedonism. In traveling up the rungs of China’s social ladder, we see how each level supports and makes possible the next while recognizing that the contemporary “Chinese Dream” remains an elusive fantasy for most. Moments of dignity and humanity serve as counterweight to the dizzying excess of production and consumption. At this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, director Jessica Kingdon won the Albert Maysles Award for Best New Documentary Director and Ascension was named Best Documentary Feature.

Following the weekend-long film screening, join a Q&A on Monday, January 24 at 5 p.m. Los Angeles time / 8 p.m. New York time / Tuesday, January 25 at 9 a.m. Hong Kong time. Asia Society Hong Kong Center Executive Director S. Alice Mong moderates the conversation that explores the film’s reception in Asia, new insider insights, and more, with director Jessica Kingdon and producers Maggie Li and Kira Simon-KennedyRegister for the conversation here.

This program is made possible by MTV Documentary Films.

This program is presented by Asia Society Museum, Asia Society Hong Kong Center, and Asia Society Southern California as part of a series titled Asia Society at the Movies.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    97 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    Jessica Kingdon