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Badass Beauty Queen: The Story of Anastasia Lin

Canada 2018
produced by
Jason Loftus, Theresa Kowall-Shipp (co) for Lofty Sky Pictures
directed by Theresa Kowall-Shipp
starring Anastasia Lin
written by Theresa Kowall-Shipp, music by Catalin Marin

documentary

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Anastasia Lin, a Canadian with Chinese roots who left China at age 13, was chosen Miss World Canada in 2015, which qualified her for the Miss World pageant - which was to be held in China. But because of her outspoken criticism of human rights violations in China, she didn't receive a letter of invitation from the Chinese gouvernment, and when she tried to enter the country with a tourist visa via Hong Kong - but was turned back by gouvernment officials. This led to an outcry in global media - and eventually led the Miss World organisation, which is dependent on Chinese sponsors, to invite her back to the competition in 2016, just to keep face. In that years pageant, Anastasi wanted to use the platform to protest organ harvesting in China. But that almost didn't happen as the organisation tried to muzzle her, trying to shield her from the media - even if this time around the pageant wasn't held in China but in Washington DC. However, several media outlets took her side, so again to keep face the organisation let her speak but saw to it that she ended as an also-ran and never really got center stage. But that's not likely to silence her anytime soon ...

 

Sometimes, it's really life that writes the best thrillers, and this is one of them, showing the many ways a totalitarian regime tries to influence public opinion - even if it's through a beauty pageant. But what makes this movie compelling is that it manages to tell Anastasia Lin's story without much spectacle and excitement that you'd almost expect from a movie like this, but in a very factual way - and that makes the story really get under one's skin: While the film most certainly doesn't pretend to be neutral, it doesn't exaggerate or try too hard to hammer its message home, doesn't present Anastasia either as a larger-than-life heroine or a perfect drama queen but basically a down-to-earth woman whose heart just happens to be in the right place, and who has the best of intentions - and that's what makes the story so creepy, she and her mission are so relatable one can't shake the feeling this could happen to any of us ...

 

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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Out now from
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