Before the Flood I
The Art(s) of Slow Cinema • 2h 23m
Directed by LI Yifan and Yan Yu • Documentary • 2005 • 147 minutes
A landmark documentary following the residents of the historic city of Fengjie as they clash with the officials forcing them to evacuate their homes to make way for the world's largest dam.
China's Three Gorges Dam, the largest dam built on earth, has displaced millions of local residents whose towns and villages have been flooded. Fengjie, a city that has thrived along the Yangtze River for a thousand years, has only a few months left before it is completely submerged in water. Its citizens contend with administrators and each other over the residences in "New Fengjie," which are allocated via lottery and are far smaller than the homes they've worked a lifetime to build. Communist collectivism gives way to individual ruthlessness while the community battles furiously against bureaucratic mismanagement.
Shot over the course of two years, Before the Flood is a breathtaking achievement in verite-style documentary filmmaking. Directors Yan Yu and Li Yifan observe the death of a city, from streets teeming with life to a ghost town echoing with the sound of sledgehammers. A disaster movie rooted in reality, Before the Flood has won awards around the world and inspired Jia Zhangke's Still Life, also shot in Fengjie. This profound film shows the human effects of one of history's grandest social engineering projects that reflecting the loss of both home and heritage.
Up Next in The Art(s) of Slow Cinema
Before The Flood II - Gong Tan
Directed by YAN Yu • Documentary • 2008 • 60 minutes
Yan Yu follows his groundbreaking documentary BEFORE THE FLOOD with this profile of the residents of Gongtan, a 1700-year-old village soon to be demolished by a hydroelectric dam project.
Gongtan, a historic village located on a tributary of ...
Directed by Liu Jiayin • Drama • With Liu Jiayin, Huifen Jia, Zaiping Liu • 2012 • 132 minutes
Breaking new ground in cinematic art, Liu Jiayin's follow-up to her masterful debut OXHIDE turns a simple dinner into a profoundly intimate study of family relationships.
Building on the stunning visi...
Directed by Hu Jie • Documentary • 2019 • 114 minutes
SPARK opens by the side of a road in Lanzhou City, northwestern China, as trucks rumble through a blasted hillside. An elderly man walks along the dusty road and pauses to point to a nearby spot—the former execution grounds. “They executed ma...