It is imperative that filmmakers rescue the existence of things and by documenting it we are preserving the fact of the subject’s existence hasn’t been lost.
— Wim Wenders

Disappearing in China 

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)

"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)


I think making a visual story is the most direct way to transfer the world in an artist’s mind out, which can be vividly accepted by people.

My mission is to make ordinary people/story extraordinary in film, to depict their unique and valuable parts. I adopt real elements that come from daily life- characters and stories, but condense them, and make them attractive in film. I am making films and telling stories for everyone.
— Sihai Zhu - https://www.sihaizhu.com/

"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

"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


`Documentary footage is not meant to be edited’. The direct-cinema movement said `we don’t need scripts. We need new language. We need to bring in dramatic logic, and that will be a deeper truth.’ Of course, it has its own flaws in terms of its truthiness.”
— Jonathan Oppenheim, the editor of The Oath and Paris is Burning

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.

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

Brilliant and very relevant work from ROBERT MONTGOMERY