Tracing the big dreams of young Chinese factory workers

Xiong Di literally translates as ‘fellas’ – following Qu Maomao and his friends as they attempt to break the monotony of their daily lives

“I repeat the same things every day,” says 27-year-old Qu Maomao. “Same clothes, same place, same process.”

Working in a factory alongside more than 2,000 other employees, Qu sews and hems underwear for the Western mass markets. Factory workers live together in hulking buildings, speckled with laundry on washing lines, inside tiny apartments. They work long hours beside each other, dine together and train together for the inter-factory boxing tournament.

The documentary Xiong Di takes its name from the Chinese phrase for ‘fellas’, as it follows Qu Maomao and his close friends’ daily routine. It’s their fierce friendship, chances at love and kickboxing that allow them the opportunity to escape monotony.

Directors Enric Ribes and Oriol Martínez spent time shooting and living in the factory to create their tribute. Despite not knowing Mandarin, they formed a bond with the kickboxers.

Qu Maomao works hard at his job, but dreams of a better life with his girlfriend, who has had to leave the factory to return home to disapproving parents. Xiong Di illustrates the relentless dreams of the young Chinese generation through its protagonist.

Music composed by Guillermo Irriguible