Washington, D.C. Premiere A gigantic Chengdu munitions plant slated for conversion into high-rise luxury apartments symbolizes the changing face of China. Half-a-dozen retired workers, brought from all over China to labor in the massive factory, play themselves as the (barely) living monuments of Mao’s China, their stories supplemented by monologues delivered by several professional actors, including Joan Chen. The dean of Chinese independent cinema, Jia Zhangke is a poet of facts. Jia’s latest bulletin on the state of the world’s most rapidly expanding economy is more obviously documentary than the director’s previous fiction films — or perhaps more obviously fictional than his documentaries (—New York Film Festival). Directed by Jia Zhangke. 2008 Cannes Film Festival, 2008 Toronto International Film Festival. Produced by Jia Zhangke and Shozo Ichiyama.
Introduced by John Hanhardt, Consulting Senior Curator of Film and Media Arts, Smithsonian American Art Museum.