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24 City

3.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A masterful film from Jia Zhang-ke, the renowned director of Still Life and The World, 24 City chronicles the dramatic closing of a once-prosperous state-owned aeronautics factory in Chengdu, a city in Southwest China, and its conversion into a sprawling luxury apartment complex. Bursting with poetry, pop songs and striking visual detail, the film weaves together unforgettable stories from three generations of workers some real, some played by actors (including Joan Chen) into a vivid portrait of the human struggle behind China s economic miracle.

- Mastered from original HD Source Material
- Cry Me A River (20 minutes), short film by Jia Zhang-ke
- Film critic Scott Foundas interviews Jia Zhang-ke (46 minutes)
- Theatrical Trailer
- 5.1 Soundtrack
- Essay by film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum


The most important filmmaker in the world. When you see the earth from outer space, it's said, the only visible human artifact is the Great Wall of China. When the early twenty-first century is someday viewed from a comparable distance, the main artifacts to be seen may be the films of Jia Zhangke. --Stuart Klawans, THE NATION

Often amazing and intricately structured... Without nostalgia but with sensitivity and depth of feeling, Mr. Jia is documenting a country and several generations that are disappearing before the world s eyes... Mr. Jia is one of the most original filmmakers working today, creating movies about a country that seems like a sequel. --Manohla Dargis, THE NEW YORK TIMES

Surprisingly engrossing. --V.A. Musetto, NEW YORK POST

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Joan Chen
  • Directors: Jia Zhang-ke
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: Chinese
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Cinema Guild
  • DVD Release Date: January 12, 2010
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002VGFX9E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,258 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The films of the Chinese independent filmmaker Jia Zhang Ke (Still Life, Unknown Pleasures) have always blurred the line between documentary and fiction, but never more so than in 24 City. The occasion for the film is the demolition of a once bustling state-run munitions factory in Chengdu to make way for a high rise apartment complex. The film documents the stages on the way to demolition and development, and ties each stage to a chronological series of interviews with people whose lives were connected to the factory, from its early days in the '50s to its heyday in the '60s and the '70s and its subsequent decline in the '80s and the '90s with the thawing of the cold war and the growth of Western-style capitalism in China. The result is both a powerful depiction of the effects of modernization in China, and an oral history that covers three generations, from those who spent their lives as workers in a time when factory work carried some prestige and national pride, to those who followed in the footsteps of their parents only to be laid off as the work in the factory became unprofitable, to a younger generation that recognized quickly that life in the factory was a dead end and sought education and employment elsewhere. The images are powerful - artfully composed and poignant - and the period music that accompanies some of the moments captures very precisely the feeling of each era.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
Sometimes, one scene makes an entire show click. In 24 City, this moment for me was when a buyer for wealthy ladies in Chengdu, China acknowledges that she will survive because she is the daughter of factory workers. Born in the 1980s, Zhao Tao is one of the final characters we meet in this poetic take on how China is shifting.

24 City focuses on stories from three generations of residents in an area formerly known as Factory 420. In a subtle mix of documentary and fiction film-making, director Jia Zhang-ke handles his subjects carefully, akin to a portrait artist, focusing on memories of migration and the lines around the lips. Quotes from Irish writer W.B. Yeats along with music from Chinese red songs, orchestral strings and Japanese enka add to this peculiar yet strangely comforting film about the transition of an aeronautical factory into a luxury high-rise complex.

As I watched the film, I thought of the stories buildings contain. Once these places are demolished, do memories become rubble to be swept away?
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Format: DVD
The dismantling of an old military factory and its replacement by the immense `24 City complex' of luxury flats and shopping malls in Chengdu is a perfect image of the socio-economic upheaval in China. It is the old communist credo - first the heavy industry and then consumption - on its head.

As a great admirer of Bertolt Brecht (`Still Life' was inspired by the `Good Person of Szechwan'), Jia Zhang Ke analyzes brilliantly the impact of socio-economic policies on individual lives. He never forgets the human touch, here in the reactions of three different generations linked to the factory.

This factory was in fact a State secret, a hidden military plant for repairing airplanes. Mao had ordered that all military factories had to be hidden in the mountains in Central China. Their workforce had a privileged status for food, drinks, housing or entertainment. It formed a village of its own, nearly totally cut from the rest of the population of the city. This tightly knit group had its own histories of love, jealousy, family splits and losses, of camaraderie and solidarity.
Jia Zhang Ke used professional actors, like Joan Chen, and amateurs in his movie in order to illustrate forcefully the human impact of the demolition of a landscape. The interviews revive reminiscences of crucial incidents that marked people for the rest of their lives. The demolition means sorrow and nostalgia for the old labour force, but also new opportunities for the new generation.
The movie illustrates the monumental gap between the living conditions of the old generation (absolutely no waste of food, clothes or spare parts) and the new one (buying expensive gadgets in Hong Kong).
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