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24 City (2008)
"Er shi si cheng ji" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  6 March 2009 (China)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 926 users   Metascore: 75/100
Reviews: 14 user | 60 critic | 11 from

Change and a city in China. In Chengdu, factory 420 is being pulled down to make way for multi-story buildings with luxury flats. Scenes of factory operations, of the workforce, and of ... See full summary »


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Title: 24 City (2008)

24 City (2008) on IMDb 7.2/10

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3 nominations. See more awards »


Credited cast:
Jianbin Chen
Liping Lü ...
Hao Dali
Su Na


Change and a city in China. In Chengdu, factory 420 is being pulled down to make way for multi-story buildings with luxury flats. Scenes of factory operations, of the workforce, and of buildings stripped bare and then razed, are inter-cut with workers who were born in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s telling their stories - about the factory, which manufactured military aircraft, and about their work and their lives. A middle-aged man visits his mentor, now elderly; a woman talks of being a 19-year-old beauty there and ending up alone. The film concludes with two young people talking, each the child of workers, each relaying a story of one visit to a factory. Times change. Written by <>

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Release Date:

6 March 2009 (China)  »

Also Known As:

24 City  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


During a press conference at the 61st Cannes Film Festival for the film, Zhangke Jia, Joan Chen and Tao Zhao observed a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the 2008 devastating earthquake in China. The film was shot in Chengdu, in Sichuan province where the earthquake struck. See more »


Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #2.15 (2011) See more »


A Girl in Tears Looking for Her Beloved One
Lyrics by Kai Chuan
Composed by Wang Ming
Performed by Li Guyi
See more »

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User Reviews

Cinematic techniques create interest
13 August 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Zhang Ke Jia's 24 City has an unusually oblique narrative, mostly told through a series of interviews that initially seem to have little connection to one another. As the film goes on, narrative threads begin to come together into a coherent whole. This narrative strategy is initially off putting but eventually yields dividends for the patient viewer.

The narrative has some interesting things to say about Chinese culture, which Zhang depicts as quite rigid with little mobility economically or geographically for most people. At the same time, people's situations aren't particularly stable as several workers talk about suddenly losing their jobs through no fault of their own. In spite of a lack of external motivation, citizens are expected to be very internally motivated and express this through patriotic team fervor and self-sacrifice.

In spite of how inherently un-cinematic the interviews (which make up the majority of this film) are, Zhang is able to bring his mastery of the medium to bear and 24 City ultimately transcends this limitation. One way he does this is to surround each interview segment with scenes full of action, such as numerous factory sequences and one memorable early shot taken from a moving truck. He also makes the interviews themselves visually interesting in a couple of way. First, most of the interviews incorporate some sort of background movement, including one that has two men playing badminton and another that offers frequent glimpses of foot traffic. Secondly, each interview takes place in a carefully designed space that tends to be both full of detail and reflective of the unique characteristics of the interviewee. Finally, he uses camera movements quite carefully for emphasis throughout. Ultimately, 24 City is an example of how carefully employed cinematic techniques can make even material which initially seems quite humdrum and unsuited for film into a memorably viewing experience.

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