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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
Top Customer Reviews
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?
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).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Jia Zhange is famed for using documentary techniques in his film-making.In 24 City he blends fact and fiction. Read morePublished on February 14, 2011 by technoguy
24 City is the first film by critically esteemed Chinese director Jia Zhang-Ke that I've seen and it was a fascinating film. Read morePublished on June 9, 2010 by Patrick Mc Coy