Killing the Chickens, to Scare the Monkeys

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Killing the Chickens, to Scare the Monkeys
Directed by Jens Assur
Produced by Studio Jens Assur
Written by Jens Assur
Cinematography Marek Weiser
Edited by Fredrik Morheden
Åsa Mossberg
Release dates
  • 2011 (2011)
Running time
23 minutes
Country Sweden
Language Mandarin Chinese with English subtitles

Killing the Chickens, to Scare the Monkeys is a 2011 short film directed by Jens Assur. The story is set in the People's Republic of China and consists of nine scenes where national politics and strategy have unforeseen consequences on a young teacher’s life. The first scene of the movie is a 15-minute single take, without cuts.

The movie was shot in Sweden and Thailand and it was Assur's second short as a director and writer.


The idea for the movie is based on a photograph, smuggled out of China, depicting a group of prisoners kneeling, awaiting their execution. Around the group, people can be seen chatting and even laughing.


The title paraphrases an old Chinese idiom "Kill the chicken to scare the monkey" (杀鸡儆猴, lit. kill chicken scare monkey), which refers to making an example out of someone in order to threaten others.[1] The movie implies that the Chinese government policy of executing dissidents is meant to deter others.

Festivals and Awards

Directors' Fortnight Cannes, France May 2011

Nordisk Panorama Århus, Denmark
Winner Best Short
September 2011

Festival de Cine de Alcalá de Henares Madrid, Spain
Special Jury Mention: Alcine
November 2011

Vendôme Film Festival Vendome, France
December 2011

Prague Short Film Festival 2012 Prague, Czech Republic
Special Jury Mention

Clermont-Ferrand 2012 Clermont-Ferrand, France
Special Jury Mention

Minimalen Short Film Festival 2012 Trondheim, Norway
Best Film - Nordic Competition
Best Fiction - Nordic Competition


External links