FILM #1

OF 38

94TH ACADEMY AWARDS | 2022 OSCARS CHALLENGE
“ASCENSION”
FEBRUARY 8, 2022
PARAMOUNT+

DAY 1

OF 48

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Produced by Jessica Kingdon, Kira Simon-Kennedy and Nathan Truesdell

With “Ascension,” Jessica Kingdon opens a window into the working class of the Chinese people at many different class levels. We go from the streets where tattoos will keep you from getting a job to high-end hotels where workers make swan-shaped towel arrangements. Kingdon presents all this in an unobstructed, fly-on-the-wall view, where you hear co-workers bashing each other or see women struggling with forming silicone sex dolls.

The cinematography is the stand-out here, treating you to breathtaking shots of people balancing on the edge of a tall building from the start. By the end, we’re still feasting on imagery like the masses of people floating with inner tubes at a water park. Those images are the selling point of this film. You only wish there was some statement to make the documentary feel more powerful.

The winner in the Best Documentary category, to me, is the one that presents something that you can’t see anywhere else. An interview with someone high profile that may never have their story told the same way again. Undercover work blowing the lid off of something illegal or unheard of until now. Something almost impossible to ever replicate again. Despite the in-depth look at this culture and their working conditions, “Ascension” does not have that once-in-a-lifetime feel to it.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Jessica Kingdon

— 1st time Nominee —

Kira Simon-Kennedy

— 1st time Nominee —

Nathan Truesdell

— 1st time Nominee —

CHANCES

PERSONAL PREDICTIONS
EXPERT PREDICTIONS

The filmmakers examine the contemporary “Chinese Dream” through staggering observations of labor, consumerism and wealth. In exploring the aspiration that drives today’s People’s Republic of China, the film plunges into universal paradoxes of economic progress.

Directed by Jessica Kingdon
MTV Documentary Films
October 8, 2021
97 minutes

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