Director: YUNG CHANG
In Up the Yangtze, filmmaker Yung Chang sensitively examines the effects of this massive project on personal lives as he follows two young people, each one transformed by the construction.
Sixteen-year-old Yu Shui and her family are dismantling their tiny shack along the river’s edge to make way for rising waters. She longs to continue her education, but financial circumstances force her to work for Farewell Cruises, a company that ferries tourists to catch a glimpse of the river region before it’s too late. The irony of her employment becomes clear as the boat glides along the river, revealing a landscape changing at an alarming pace. Meanwhile, the journey’s significance is lost on her coworker Chen Bo Yu, whose good looks and English skills make him an ideal hire. He merely sees his job as an opportunity to make some money.
Beautifully photographed, the film provides a final snapshot of a rapidly disappearing cultural landscape. Juxtaposing the Yangtze’s stunning panorama with the reality of Yu Shui’s poignant story, Chang shows the tenuous balance between China’s rich cultural past and its modernized future.
Director Yung Chang Bio
A 1999 graduate of Concordia University’s film department, Yung Chang is an award-winning Canadian filmmaker currently based in Montreal. His parents are both first-generation Chinese immigrants to Canada, and through their influence, Chang maintains a strong interest in contemporary Chinese issues. His first documentary film, Earth to Mouth, is a beautifully crafted meditation on migrant farm labor, food production, and Canada’s Chinese community. It circulated widely on the international festival circuit. Up the Yangtze is his first feature-length documentary. — Sundance Film Festival Catalogue, 2008.
Canada | 2007 | Director & Screenwriter: Yung Chang | Documentary | 93 min | color