Crocodile in the Yangtze
ED Giuseppe De Angelis
MUS Federico Chieli
PROD CO Taluswood Films / Purple Reel Productions
As "Crazy" Jack Ma struts across a massive stage in a sports arena, lip-synching "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" while thousands of his employees shriek adoringly, it’s hard to believe that China’s first Internet entrepreneur was an English teacher only a decade earlier. Of course, seeing is believing… As one of Ma’s first employees, Porter Erisman had front row seats for this remarkable transformation. Fortunately, he also had the foresight to shoot extensive footage over 14 years, creating a remarkable document of how a business housed in Ma’s living room evolved into Alibaba, a 16,000-employee empire capable of going toe-to-toe with eBay.
The resulting documentary is an unadorned, nothing-but-the-facts look at one man’s relentless pursuit of his dream. Granted, every chase has its stumbles. In this vein, Erisman diligently delves into Ma’s setbacks, including the intense criticism that greeted his partnership with China Yahoo!, who’d just helped the government prosecute a dissident journalist. While you may disagree with Ma’s policies, you can only marvel at his conviction as he promises 100-million jobs and proclaims, "Alibaba isn’t just a job. It’s a great cause." Is it any wonder that he’s become a veritable rock star in his homeland…? "It’s like the real-life version of The Social Network. Only in Mandarin."—Inc.com