UP THE YANGTZE (沿江而上)
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Dir. Yung Chang, 2008
China, 94 mins.
In Mandarin with English subtitles.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 3 - 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, JULY 9 - 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, JULY 14 - 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, JULY 24 - 7:30 PM
“Everywhere there are reminders of progress and sacrifice.”
The Three Gorges Dam, the largest power station in the world in terms of installed capacity, spans the Yangtze River, the largest and most revered river in Asia. It’s named for the three gorges it flooded, the Qutang, Wu Xia, and Xiling, which stretch for 124 miles and were renowned for their scenic beauty. Reportedly 1.3 million people (and up to 2 million) living in 1,500 cities, towns, and villages along the river were displaced as a result of its implementation.
In 2007, before the waters rose completely, 16 year old Yu Shui sets off from her impoverished family and their riverside home to work on a Yangtze river cruise called Farewell Cruises, offering a final glimpse of the Yangtze to wealthy tourists before the waters rise. Her parents, illiterate farmers, are saddened by having to send their daughter off to work instead of allowing her to continue her studies. Yu Shui suddenly has a new English name, Cindy, and is thrust into a whole new world where she must cater to wealthy foreigners on their vacations. Along with Yu Shui is Chen Bo Yu, or “Jerry,” an only child from a middle-class family who, with far less to lose, takes his job far less seriously. As Yu Shui struggles to navigate the modern world, her family seeks higher ground.
“It’s a tender and profound portrait of unwieldy, mass-scale modernization at work, a process multifaceted enough to include Yu Shui’s dawning optimism, Chen Bo Yu’s dispiriting setbacks, and a cheery tourist rendition of “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean” that also serves as a lament for tradition’s demise.” -Nick Schager, Slant
Yung Chang is the director of UP THE YANGTZE (沿江而上), CHINA HEAVYWEIGHT (千錘百鍊), and THE FRUIT HUNTERS. He is currently completing a screenplay for his first dramatic feature, Eggplant (茄子), and in post-production for a feature documentary about Robert Fisk, the controversial Middle East correspondent, co-produced by the National Film Board of Canada. His latest, Gatekeeper, is on the festival circuit and streaming on Field of Vision, Laura Poitras' curated online film unit. Chang is the recipient of the Don Haig Award, the Yolande and Pierre Perrault Award, and the Guggenheim Emerging Artist Award. He is a member of the Directors Guild of Canada. In 2013, he was invited to become a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization behind the Academy Awards / Oscars.