先ずは、中国系カナダ人の映画作家Yung ChangのドキュメンタリーUP THE YANGTZEのレヴュー;

April 25, 2008
A Visit to Old China, Before It Drowns

Imagine the Grand Canyon turned into a lake. That image is summoned by Yung Chang, the Chinese-Canadian director and occasional narrator of “Up the Yangtze,” an astonishing documentary of culture clash and the erasure of history amid China’s economic miracle.

The film explores the incalculable human impact of the giant Three Gorges Dam project on the Yangtze, China’s longest river. When completed, the 600-foot-high dam will be the largest hydroelectric project in the world. As we watch the steadily rising water swallow more and more of the landscape, the film conveys an ominous sense of a society changing too fast in its stampede into an unknown future.

The dam, suggested by Sun Yat-sen and later supported by Mao Zedong, but not begun until 1994, is expected to be finished sometime in 2011. Not since the Great Wall has China undertaken such a massive engineering project.

By the time the dam is completed as many as two million people will have been relocated to new homes from the flooded area. As one struggling merchant forced to move from his riverside home explains before breaking down in tears, the Chinese people are expected to “sacrifice the little family for the big family.”

“Up the Yangzte” is the second recent film based around the project. “Still Life,” Jia Zhangke’s haunting docudrama, was about a man and a woman who never meet while searching for their mates in Fengjie, a town in the process of demolition. It was drenched in a mood of despair.

The more sociologically oriented “Up the Yangzte” is largely set aboard a ship making what are billed as “farewell cruises” up the river. Many of the tourists, we are told, come expecting to see the “old China” before it disappears. As the boat sails upriver, the landscape is spectacular. At the same time the yellowish haze over the water suggests China’s already serious air pollution problem. There are brief glimpses of cities whose gaudy wall-to-wall signs match those of the Las Vegas Strip or Times Square. In these cities what remains of the old China is hidden by the glitter.

Beyond Mr. Chang’s reflections on the country as described to him by his grandfather, the movie refuses to editorialize. It lets the images demonstrate the degree to which the old China has already disappeared. What emerges is a country in the throes of rampant economic development and the global homogenization it augurs.

The movie offers an “Upstairs, Downstairs” view of life aboard the vessel, which is crowded with well-to-do American and European tourists catered to by a Chinese staff that is minutely drilled on proper etiquette: Never compare Canada and the United States; never call anyone old, pale or fat (plump is O.K.); never talk about politics.

The movie observes the culture shock felt by two young employees. Yu Shui, the 16-year-old daughter of illiterate peasants who can’t afford to send her to college, is a reluctant dishwasher. Like the other employees she is given a Western name, Cindy. Miserable, sullen and homesick, she has a difficult time adjusting. Meanwhile her parents, who are forced to leave the riverbank where they have survived by growing vegetables and fishing, are shown carrying out the backbreaking labor of moving to a new location.

Chen Bo Yu, renamed Jerry, is a cocky, good-looking go-getter from a middle-class background. We are told he is an example of the “little emperor” phenomenon in which male products of the country’s one-child policy grow up spoiled and entitled. Shortly after Mr. Chen begins receiving generous tips, his cheerful but hard-nosed boss confronts him with complaints from tourists that he is soliciting tips. As he engages an American teenager in small talk about girls and sports, he seems eager to shed his national identity and make money: the more the better.

All the while the water continues to rise.


Opens on Friday in Manhattan.

Written (in English, Mandarin and Sichuan, with English subtitles) and directed by Yung Chang; director of photography, Wang Shi Qing; edited by Hannele Halm; music by Olivier Alary; produced by Mila Aung-Thwin, Germaine Ying-Gee Wong and John Christou; released by Zeitgeist Films. At the IFC Center, 323 Avenue of the Americas, at Third Street, Greenwich Village. Running time: 1 hour 34 minutes. This film is not rated.

さて、上のレヴューでも賈樟柯の『三峡好人(Still Life)』*1が引き合いに出されている。ところで、『三峡好人』とほぼ同時に撮影され、『三峡好人』の姉妹篇ともいえる『東』*2が日本でどのようになっているのかは知らず*3。『東』は一応ドキュメンタリーである。主人公は画家の劉小東。彼の「温床(Hot Bed)」シリーズ製作のドキュメントであるといえる。前半では『三峡好人』の舞台になった奉節で出稼ぎ労働者たちをモデルにして描き、後半では舞台がタイのバンコクに移り、水商売系の女たちをモデルにして描く。前半と後半では、


という対立を見出すことができるか。また、前半と後半を統べる公分母は〈水〉であろう。上で一応ドキュメンタリーといったのだが、それは『東』には韓三明が登場し、彼も絵のモデルとなり、また韓三明が事故で死んだ労働者の遺体を戸板で一緒に運ぶシーンは『三峡好人』でも使われている。以下、Shelly Kraicerさんがこの2本のフィルムの関係について語っているのを引用してみる;

Jia shot Still Life in some of the same locations and at the same time as the documentary Dong and the relationship between the two is provocative. Dong records the painter Liu Xiaodong as he prepares two large-scale works, one of half-naked male workers in Fengjie lounging with the river as a backdrop, the second of female entertainment workers in Bangkok lounging en deshabille amidst fruits and furniture. In Dong, we are supposed to be seeing documentary truth, as the artist Liu paints real people in a real place. But Sanming is in Dong, as are some of the other characters from the movie. Yet he is not really a worker in Fengjie, he only plays one in Still Life. So what is he doing in Dong? Similarly, shots are shared between the two films: the creepy disinfectant team in their moon suits, the bare-chested men hammering in syncopated rhythms at the city ruins, the collapsing wall of one wrecked building.

As Jia maps it, cinema does not divide neatly into fiction and documentary. Dong creates a subjective world, as much inside the mind of the artist Liu as outside in objective space. Still Life digs deep to reveal an underlying reality, mobilizing sophisticated formal strategies to create images of truth. These same strategies demand—or, rather, construct, during the process of watching—viewers who are ready to watch, absorb, and feel this vision. It is a vision of a man-made hell, of the monumental and limitless destruction left behind by a society rushing to tear up its foundations and gut its history. And it is a vision of embodied resistance—an individual, physical resilience that can spark an impossible, miraculous, but tangible hope in a world that seems to offer none.
“Chinese Wasteland: Jia Zhangke’s Still Lifehttp://www.cinema-scope.com/cs29/feat_kraicer_still.html

さて、私が観た『東』のDVDには、Damien Ounouri監督のXiao Jia rentre à la maisonというドキュメンタリーが附録でついていて、これがすごく面白かった。賈樟柯が故郷の山西省汾陽に戻って、自ら『小武』(邦題『一瞬の夢』)や『プラットホーム』 の舞台を案内するという趣向。勿論、突然幼馴染が登場して語りが中断してしまうということもある。

Dennis Lim “Jia Zhangke's portraits of China's convulsive change” http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/01/22/arts/chinfilm.php


長江哀歌 (ちょうこうエレジー) [DVD]

長江哀歌 (ちょうこうエレジー) [DVD]

一瞬の夢 [DVD]

一瞬の夢 [DVD]

プラットホーム [DVD]

プラットホーム [DVD]