Hooligan Sparrow

Close Up Sisters Truth To Power
Director: Nanfu Wang | Countries of production: China, United States | Year: 2016 | Length: 84 min
Language: English, Chinese (Mandarin) with English subtitles | Age: 15+ years

Screened as part of TOAFF16

Brave, daring exposé of human rights abuses and governmental intimidation in China.

Director Nanfu Wang follows maverick gender activist Ye Haiyan (aka Hooligan Sparrow) as she protests against local authorities’ failure to hold officials accountable for a string of sexual abuse cases against children. Soon, both Wang and Haiyan are branded enemies of the state and subjected to intimidation, with Wang forced to film in secret and smuggle her footage of out the country.

Documenting harassment, interrogation and surveillance by uniformed and secret police, Wang’s nervy camerawork vividly conveys the grip of repression that leads so many in China to police themselves into silence – and embodies the incredible courage of those who refuse to give in.

This film was supported by the Bertha / Doc Society Journalism Fund.

Content note: sexual abuse

“This guerrilla-style documentary is brave..utilizing hidden-camera subterfuges and deceptively placed microphones, Wang has managed to uncover in the process another human-rights outrage in China, the thug-like nature of government’s intrusion into private lives.”
The Hollywood Reporter

Hooligan Sparrow both lionizes and humanizes the activist, capturing a slice of what it means to fight for women in a country that desperately tries to suppress you.”

Sundance, Official selection
One World, Official selection

Supported by

Ways to Watch

Watch paid online

Watch paid on YouTube

Purchase film

Purchase film on YouTube