UPDATE: Our winner has been selected! Congrats to Peter Lo who will be seeing 24 City this weekend. Thanks to everyone for playing and to Landmark Theatres for providing free tickets!
Moye and I recently watched “Paper Heart,” which was a charming blend of documentary and fiction in film making. China’s most noted contemporary filmmaker, Jia Zhang-ke uses a similar technique in “24 City” (二十四城記 / Er shi si cheng ji), by fusing documentary and fiction to tell a tale of the transformation of the China of the past 50 years into the new, hypercapitalist China.
Shot in disorientingly vivid high-def video, “24 City” chronicles the dramatic closing of a State‐owned munitions factory and its conversion into luxury high‐rise apartments. Given the name Factory 420 as an internal military security code, the Chengdu Engine Group was founded in 1958 to produce aviation engines, and saw years of prosperous activity. Now abandoned, the factory was sold for millions to real‐estate developers, it is being transformed into an emblem of market economy: an apartment complex called 24 City.
As the buildings are demolished around them and their past is wiped away, former workers (some played by themselves, others by actors, including Joan Chen as Gu Minhua “Xiao Hua” / 小花) reminisce about the vanished world where they lived and worked. Meanwhile, a materialistic younger generation jettisons their parents’ traditions to pursue wealth and consumer happiness.
From the director, Jia Zhang-Ke (賈樟柯)
This film is made up of interviews with five workers, who share their real-life experiences with us, and of fictional monologues by three women. I decided to integrate documentary and fiction in this parallel flow because this seemed to me the best way of representing the last half-century of Chinese history. As far as I’m concerned, History is always a blend of facts and imagination.
The stories of these characters, both real and fictional, center on a state-owned factory which supplies the Air Force and other sectors of the military. The factory was founded 60 years ago, and was moved to Chengdu City 50 years ago. It has weathered all of the successive political movements under communist government. I’m not interested in chronicling this history as such, but rather in seeing how a century of experiments with Socialism has impacted on the fate of Chinese people. To understand the complexity of the social changes, we need to listen to the direct and in-depth testimonies of the people who have lived through them.
Presented by Cinema Guild, “24 City” opens on Friday, July 31, at Landmark’s Lumiere Theatre in San Francisco, and Landmark’s Shattuck Cinema in Berkeley. Also opens August 21at Camera Cinemas in San Jose. (Updated Screening Schedule)
Bay Area folks, lucky you… 8Asians is doing another ticket giveaway!
TICKET GIVEAWAY FOR SAN FRANCISCO OPENING!
Courtesy of Landmark Theatres, 8Asians is giving away a free pair of tickets for Opening Night 7/31 in SF (Landmark’s Lumiere Theatre) or Berkeley (Landmark’s Shattuck Theatre)!
All you have to do is to leave a comment with your preferred location and one lucky winner will be selected to go!
(Contest will be closed at 11:59pm Pacific Time on Thursday night, 7/30)