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Sidewalk Review: Made in China

September 24, 2009


A very American story set mostly in China, “Made in China” follows starry-eyed inventor Johnson (Jackson Keuhn). His inventions may not revolutionize the world but he is following in the dreams of his heroes – those who invented a different kind of genius – sneezing powder, Slinkies and other kitschy gadgets.

Leaving his mother’s house in Texas to Shanghai based on a conversation with someone in China who said he will help him with setting up manufacturing of his product, Johnson quickly discovers that not all dreams come true so easily.

His “humorous domestic hygiene product,” gets a little boost from Magnus, an English business consultant after his money. But instead of just squashing Johnson’s dreams, the audience travels along with him as a sort of business coming-of-age story. His naivety charms us and we hope along with him that things may work out.

Performances from Keuhn and Dan Sumpter (Magnus) help make the film what it is – a charming all American tale.

What makes the film even more interesting is that first time female director Judith Krant picked up a camera and traveled to China and filmed without permits. Her own ingenuinity helped mark the film as a stand out at festivals this year.

Made in China can be seen at Sidewalk at noon on Sunday, Sept. 27 at Birmingham Museum of Art.

(Made in China won the SXSW Jury Award for Narrative Feature and the SXSW/Chicken & Egg Emergent Woman Award and last week won the Audience Award at the Oldenburg Film Festival in Germany)

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