Wednesday, August 8, 2012

24 City

Partly because I'm going there tomorrow, I watched a film set in  Chengdu called 24 City, directed by Jia Zhangke in 2008 (just before the earthquake struck). It tells the story - or rather stories - of several people, young & old, who worked in a state-owned factory which is just about to be demolished and turned into apartment blocks. It's a curious film, beautifully shot in the ghostlike spaces of the crumbling factory and nondescript apartments, and feels very much like a documentary, but the cast are actors (including Joan Chen and Zhao Tao). 
Actually, the film has nothing much to do with Chengdu: the factory was a self-contained bubble, with accommodation, schools, shops and canteens alongside the work units. And because it was an important supplier to the airforce, it largely escaped the chaos of the Cultural Revolution. Everyone stayed put. 
Anyway, good, moving film. 

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