A look at life in a rapidly developing new China. Workers recruited from villages into Beijing's construction industry tell their stories of a culture in flux. Their displacement from loved...
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A look at life in a rapidly developing new China. Workers recruited from villages into Beijing's construction industry tell their stories of a culture in flux. Their displacement from loved ones, financial desperation, and hopes are set against the backdrop of the city they are daily transforming in preparation for the 2008 Olympics. Prolific young novelist and filmmaker Xiaolu Guo illustrates with reference to her own migration from a provincial fishing village, music, and stories of her own. Written by
I had the fortunate experience to watch this film and talk to the director afterward. Guo Xiaolu is an energetic figure who, unfortunately, seems to be in the minority in China when in comes to ideas of cultural preservation. I recently returned from two months of travels there and the reality is all too similar to the film. Everywhere old buildings are still being destroyed while lip-service is paid to China's cultural heritage. The confounding thing about it is that all sorts of regular Chinese that you will meet on the street will go on about the great history of Chinese culture, and then little is done about it. Everything is subsumed by a maniacal drive towards "development". This means that historical buildings are torn down and rebuilt to accommodate tourists. If they aren't rebuilt in concrete then they will be so over-restored that they may as well have been.
Either way, this film is a good depiction of the architectural atrocity that China seems eager to become. It shows the human element that seems so helpless in the face of a tide of concrete. It is good to keep in mind when watching this film a comment Guo Xiaolu made to me, "The Concrete Revolution has already destroyed more than the Cultural Revolution in China." A good satire of this situation, and complement to this film is _The World_ by Zhang Jiake.
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