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.
Continue reading: 24 City Review
Still Life, the director's last stateside-distributed film object about the displaced wanderers surviving on the outskirts of the Three Gorges Dam project, demonstrated how very strange life in rural China has become. In Jia's new film 24 City, which takes place in Chengdu City, the most memorable images are more subdued and compacted: An assembly of workers singing "The International," a factory being demolished, Joan Chen playing a one-time factory employee whose co-workers remark that she resembles Joan Chen.
Continue reading: 24 City Review
A surprise 11th-hour entry and Golden Lion winner at the 2006 Venice Film Festival, Jia's latest fluidly surveys the landscapes that have been continuously changing in Fengjie since the initial days of construction on the Three Gorges Dam in 1994. A manifestation of the last century in and of itself, the Three Gorges project was initially conceptualized in 1919 and survived over 70 years of protests and economic fumbles before Li Peng, the man partially responsible for Tiananmen '89, gave it the final go-ahead. And yet, Zhang-ke's tone is neither accusatory nor judgmental; the film is a documentary with two fictional beings roaming around in its periphery.
Continue reading: Still Life Review
This time around, Zhang has created a long and free-floating visit inside the walls of Beijing World Park, a sort of low-rent EPCOT that features small-scale replicas of the world's great sites -- the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Manhattan skyline, complete with World Trade Center -- and offers its visitors the chance to "see the world without leaving Beijing," a particularly cruel fate from his point of view.
Continue reading: The World Review
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