It’s difficult to grasp the extent of change in China's cultural and economic environment until you see this documentary by Sue Williams. Once known as a country where individual aspirations were sacrificed for the populace, China is rapidly burgeoning into an international economic powerhouse with its youth leading the way. At the price of cultural and economic growing pains, the Chinese Gen X'ers and beyond now have opportunities for personal success and happiness that were once inconceivable to those from the previous generation. This documentary chronicles the lives of nine Gen X'ers from all different walks of life for a period of four years. They candidly discuss their lives and how they are managing the pains and benefits of living in a society in constant metamorphosis. Only when a society undergoes such a drastic transformation that we see that these people surprisingly are not unlike the youths from any other developed country, individuals aspiring for a balance of career, family, social responsibility, and purpose. Because the documentary profiles these lives so intimately in a short amount of time, the audience may forget that this opportunity for the pursuit of self actualization is a luxury that has only been available in China for a few decades. So where you live determines whether or not it’s conceivable or attainable. I suppose, if poverty and repression gives way to prosperity and freedom, people, regardless of ethnicity and social status, are on some level the same.
You can watch the entire documentary online for free at: www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/youngchina/