24 City Movie Review

An intriguing hybrid of fiction and documentary, this film chronicles the dismantling of a notorious factory in Chengdu to make way for a new luxury community. It's skilfully assembled, but a bit dry for Western audiences.

As Factory 420 prepares to close, people recount their experiences. Born in the 1930s, He Xikun is the eldest former employee. Guan is a former security boss remembering the factory's role in the Korean War. Hou recounts her emotional experience in Chengdu. Dali (Lu) walks through the site to start a new job. Gu (Joan Chen) remembers her colleagues' efforts to find her a boyfriend. Zhao (Chen Jianbin) grew up in the factory and is now a TV presenter. And Su (Zhao Tao) is a young woman moving forward.

This is a minutely observed film that feels almost like industrial art, capturing both the humanity as well as the machinery, oil and smoke. It's impossible to tell whether the person talking to the camera is a real person or an actor, as all of them seem authentic. And their stories are packed with terrific details and remarkable settings, as these people talk about the factory's history as a secret supplier of military equipment. The film is cleverly shot and edited, with witty touches and telling emotions. Although it's also rather loose and unfocussed.

Despite being mainly a collection of talking heads, the film has a cheeky tone that makes it watchable. Along the way there's plenty of humour alongside some harrowing stories, such as watching a woman relive the day she lost her young son while en route to her factory job. And with interviewees born between 1937 and 1982, we get a remarkable look at "progress" over a span of time.

As it continues, we also see the machines being removed and the buildings being either revamped or demolished to make way for the vast new 24 City. The reality is that many of these people came to work in the factory to support their families back home in the countryside, but today the situation is reversed: life in the cities is hard. Which isn't a truth limited to China.

Cast & Crew

Director : Jia Zhang-Ke

Producer : Jia Zhang-Ke, Zhai Yongming

Starring : , Lu Liping, , Chen Jianbin, He Xikun, Wang Zhiren, Guan Fengjiu, Hou Lijun, Zhao Gang, Jiang Shanshan, Chen Rui, Zhai Yongming


Comments

24 City Rating

" OK "

Rating: U, 2008

Editors Recommendations

Is The Cannes Palme d'Or Heading David Cronenberg’s Way for 'Map to the Stars'?

The Cannes Film festival is sneaking up fast. The Oscars felt like they were 8 minutes ago...

Is The Cannes Palme d'Or Heading David Cronenberg’s Way for 'Map to the Stars'?

CounterPoint Festival 2014 To Feature Hometown Return of Outkast

Next weekend's CounterPoint Festival will be the event's first year at a new 5000-acre site, featuring...

CounterPoint Festival 2014 To Feature Hometown Return of Outkast

'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' - Not Perfect, But Really, Really Fun

Superhero movies have been striving towards the almost unobtainable goal set...

'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' - Not Perfect, But Really, Really Fun

Ricky Gervais is "Hooked" on David Brent Again - Former Paper Merchant To Return

A return for David Brent has been mooted ever since the character was wheeled...

Ricky Gervais is

This Labor Day, Jay Z Is Bringing "Made In America" To Downtown Los Angeles

Jay Z and the Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti have announced that the rapper’s...

This Labor Day, Jay Z Is Bringing

Anna Wintour wants 'more exclusive' Met Ball 2014

The editor-in-chief of US VOGUE magazine is reportedly determined for the annual...

Anna Wintour - Anna Wintour wants 'more exclusive' Met Ball 2014

Jay Z Announces Second Budweiser Made in America Music Festival To Be Held In Los Angeles

Jay Z is one of the music's most successful entrepreneurs and he is now making...

Jay Z Announces Second Budweiser Made in America Music Festival To Be Held In Los Angeles

AC/DC Aren't Retiring After All, It's Just One Band Member

Finally, after three whole days of unchecked speculation online, AC/DC have...

AC/DC Aren't Retiring After All, It's Just One Band Member

Lady Gaga Startling Unedited Versace Ad Snaps Leaked

Lady Gaga has become the latest celebrity to find themselves in the middle...

Lady Gaga Startling Unedited Versace Ad Snaps Leaked


More recommendations