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Matteo Satta 2 years ago
"Jia Zhangke’s last feature, Still Life (2006), was set in Fengjie, an ancient river city flooded and rebuilt as part of China’s monumental Three Gorges Dam Project; his latest, 24 City, takes place in and around a giant, formerly-top-secret aircraft plant in Chengdu City, Sichuan. Again, the subject is displacement. Having been purchased by a state-controlled real estate developer, China Resources, Factory 420 is slated for demolition. More precisely, it will be converted into a luxury housing complex named 24 City—condos at a cost of only 20,000 jobs. 24 City is largely oral history, real and invented. It’s mainly populated by retired workers, posed in situ and talking about their lives—flesh-and-blood monuments of Mao’s China. But 24 City is not exactly cinema vérité. Jia originally planned to make two movies about Factory 420, one fictional and the other documentary. To the discomfit of many critics, however, the two modes merged in a single work: 24 City is more obviously...
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