a new documentary film from filmmakers Sihai Zhu and Marie Ketring about China's abandoned cities.
"In the summer of 2008, I returned to my hometown, a small rural village... I needed to find particularly clean natural environments to use as backgrounds for some photographs. But such places are hard to find now. Everywhere, covered by plastic tarps, there is the so-called modern agriculture, which has produced a countless number of discarded pesticide and chemical fertilizer packages scattered across the fields, ditches, and ponds. Herbicides and pesticides together have transformed the once-fertile natural environment into a lifeless one, and the rapidly developing consumerist lifestyle of the villagers has filled the village with piles of non-degradable garbage. The clean and beautiful hometown of my childhood memories---only a decade or two old---is nowhere to be found."
- filmmaker Wang Jiuliang Beijing Besieged by Garbage (2008)
"Wei Minghe was in his late 60s. He still had the rawboned build of a farmer, but now he lived in a retirement apartment in the nearby city of Huairou, although he returned faithfully each year for Qingming. Later that day, I gave him a ride back to the city. When I asked him if he missed Spring Valley, he said, "Before this apartment, I never lived in a place with good heat." His view of progress made perfect sense, just like the wishes of the ancestors---tile roofs versus thatched."
- Peter Hessler, National Geographic, January 2010
Many if not most young people dream of escaping their villages and getting jobs and enjoying city life. In the old days the easiest way for a man to escape village life was to join the army. These days it is achieved by becoming a migrant worker or getting a job in a factory town or by working hard in school and attending university.
Brilliant and very relevant work from ROBERT MONTGOMERY