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A luxury cruise boat motors up the Yangtze - navigating the mythic waterway known in China simply as "The River." The Yangtze is about to be transformed by the biggest hydroelectric dam in history. At the river's edge - a young woman says goodbye to her family as the floodwaters rise towards their small homestead. The Three Gorges Dam - contested symbol of the Chinese economic miracle - provides the epic backdrop for Up the Yangtze, a dramatic feature documentary on life inside modern China.Written by
National Film Board of Canada
"Up the Yangtze" is a documentary which is at its heart, about a poor Chinese family and the impact the Three Gorges Dam project is having on their lives. In a broader sense it is about a rapidly changing China and the huge disparity in rich & poor that exists there.
The Three Gorges Dam is a colossal hydroelectric project. The hydro plant on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, "wonder of the world", generates 2,300 MW of electricity. The Three Gorges project will be 26,000 MW, a dam two km wide, and when complete will displace 2 million people and empty about 9 large cities.
One such displaced family is featured in the film. The daughter of the family goes to work on a cruise ship on the Yangtze which caters to rich Westerners. The story is told from the point of view of the daughter, and various people we meet along the trip.
The film made me laugh, and cry a couple of times too. (Which was embarrassing because I watched it on an Air Canada flight to Vancouver) If you want to get a little window on what is going on in China right now, the corruption of officials, the disparity between rich and poor, the treatment of peasants by the government, beyond the newspaper headlines, then this film is for you.
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