Weiqi, often referred to as "Go" in English, is arguably the most important game in East Asia, with an estimated thirty million to fifty million players throughout the world. Weiqi is a board game but it is more. It is immersed in more vivid and often contradictory cultural metaphors than any other game in the world. As Chinese politics have changed over the last two millennia, so too has the imagery of the game—from a tool to seek religious enlightenment to military metaphors, one of the noble four arts, one of the condemned “four olds”, nationalism, transnationalism, historical elitism, and futuristic hyper rationality.

Anthropologist Marc L. Moskowitz interviews people in China in settings ranging from children's schools to China's elite Beijing University to a park where retired working class men gather to play, from child educators to those reminiscing about their own youth during the Cultural Revolution. What emerges is a fascinating cultural study as people discuss children's education, retirement, China forty years ago and today. We are witness to people's lives, ranging from university students to working class senior citizens, professional players, people who gave up professional careers to become students, and a range of others who all share a love for this extraordinary game.

 

 

 

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Marc L. Moskowitz, the director, producer, and cinematographer of this film, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of South Carolina. Since his first trip to the PRC in 1988 he lived in Chinese-speaking Asia for over eleven years.

 

Marc L. Moskowitz, dir. 2012. Weiqi Wonders: Conversations About the Game of Go in China. High-Definition Color. 50 min. Chinese and English with English subtitles.

 

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