WEB JUNKIE (2014) [feature]

(MIFF 2014 )

An engrossing look inside one of China's prison-like rehabilitation camps for internet-addicted teens.

Daxing Boot Camp is one of 400 or so military-style web-addiction treatment centres established in China since it became the first country to label the issue a clinical disorder. Its patients are primarily male, all are adolescent; most don't know how they ended up in the camp, having been tricked or even drugged by their parents. None agree they have a problem.

With extraordinary access and candidness, Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia's Web Junkie takes us inside Daxing, an incongruous cross between a military barracks and a mental hospital, to meet three ‘inmates' during their months-long deprogramming stays. Their stories reflect a wider social phenomenon: a generational canyon between communist-era parents and authorities and their net-savvy, consumerist children, the lonely products of the one-child policy.

Both a spellbinding look at how technology is altering our lives and an emotional examination of a society going through a new cultural revolution, Web Junkie is as entertaining as it is bizarre.

"A remarkable institutional study and in its heightened ambiguity recalls works as varied as Grady and Ewing's Jesus Camp and Frederick Wisemen's High School." – Filmmaker Magazine

Select Festival

Search the film archive