Tied to the mast
…but orange now and black

24 City

(SPOILERS… inasmuch as that’s relevant, which is not much for a movie like this)

Yesterday a few of us went to see Jia Zhang-ke’s quasi-documentary about the closing of 420 (armaments) Factory in Chengdu. At the heart of the rapidly growing and modernizing city, it is to be replaced with modern, high-density residential development.

I would recommend it to any and every.

I was blown away by the intimacy of his camera; an intimacy that was all the more engrossing for it being a countryman’s intimacy with Chinese workers who, as a Westerner, one simply isn’t exposed to. It made Chinese working people—caricatures as much to me as to most Westerners—so much more real. Parenthetically, between this and Iran, my sense of global kinship has broadened pretty expansively over the past week.

The movie was formatted as a series of interviews interspersed with extremely well composed shots of the factory and city.

This is probably the only real spoiler (next paragraph)… not sure if it would negatively impact your experience of the film, but I didn’t know it until the credits rolled and was probably less distracted for it.

Half of the interviews were non-fiction, with real people affiliated with the factory, and the other half were fictional (with actors). Even in hindsight, I have no idea which were which (with one exception thanks to my roommate’s previous experience with his movies)—a staggering accomplishment in empathy.

Go see it.

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One Response to “24 City”

  1. […] of weeks ago I went with some friends to see Jia Zhangke’s 24 City (which blogged about here). It was virtuosic in its subtlety, both in a general sense and in how it fit the bill of […]


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