Daily Drip

Watch Shamate Documentary “We Were Smart” Online for Free this Weekend


Director Li Yifan’s documentary We Were Smart is a fascinating foray into a vibrant but shunned subculture born of young rural-born migrant workers who fueled China’s industrial boom in the mid-‘00s. We are excited to now give you the chance to watch his documentary.

For 36 hours only, starting at 6PM on Friday, January 8 (China Standard Time), we are premiering We Were Smart (杀马特, 我爱你) on our YouTube channel. The screening is free and the film will have English subtitles.

Transliterated from the English word “smart,” shamate became a way for groups of young migrant workers to vent their pent-up tensions and find a sense of belonging among unfamiliar surroundings, gruelingly mind-numbing work, and cruelly exploitative bosses.

“Shamate don’t understand the world, nor does the outside world understand shamate,” says director Li Yifan, who spent two years collecting 915 first-hand video recordings from former shamate devotees. He has given us permission to showcase his film online for 36 hours.

Set yourself a reminder on YouTube and subscribe to RADII’s channel, then discover more about shamate and the background to this fascinating film below.

Shunned, Shattered, Shamate: A New Film Spotlights China’s Most Hated Subculture

All images courtesy Li Yifan

RADII (rā'dē-ī') is an independent platform of artists, writers and creators dedicated to sharing vibrant stories from the rarely explored sides of new China.
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