Ascension – Mar. 3rd

On Thursday, March 3rd, at 7pm at the Emerson, the Bozeman Doc Series presents the Oscar-nominated new documentary, Ascension.

An impressionistic portrait, Ascension examines the contemporary “Chinese Dream” through staggering observations of labor, consumerism and wealth. The documentary portrays capitalism in China across the levels of its operation, from the crudest mine to the most rarefied forms of leisure. Structured in three parts, the film ascends through the levels of the capitalist structure: workers running factory production, the middle class training for and selling to aspirational consumers, and the elites reveling in a new level of hedonistic enjoyment. In cinematically exploring the aspiration that drives today’s People’s Republic of China, the film plunges into universal paradoxes of economic progress.

Ascension world-premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, where it won the award for Best Documentary Feature, has gone on to screen at major festivals around the world, and was recently named one of the five nominees for the Oscar for Best Documentary.

Terrific…Ascension is a collection of breathtaking images and revelatory vignettes that position China as a simultaneously alien and completely universal cultural and industrial landscape…The primary questions Ascension is meant to be raising are those universal questions about the elevating potential of capitalism. Is “ascension” possible? Who controls the wealth and, with it, the power? Those questions are as relevant to an autoworker in Detroit as to the laborer lost in the animal steam of a food processing plant somewhere in China. Like its documentary predecessors, Ascension finds aesthetic allure and fodder for debate in the complex symphony of industrialism and the people functioning within its order and disorder.” The Hollywood Reporter

Revelatory…shockingly incisive…as engrossing as it is alarming.”

“Brilliant…slyly tracks China’s shift from global factory to consumer society…Part of the film’s genius is in how the images are put together, sometimes to absurd effect, at other times unnervingly. The system is dehumanising but we see the emotions of the humans inside it. It’s a fascinating film about China that has universal things to say about income inequality and aspiration everywhere: how we’re all sold a dream that’s out of the reach of most.” The Guardian


Tickets are available at the door or before the show online at, where you can also buy Season Passes and 7-film punch cards, learn more about the series, and view trailers for upcoming films. The series will continue every other Thursday through April.