Directed by Jia Zhangke • 2006 • China
Starring Zhao Tao, Han Sanming, Wang Hongwei
Jia Zhangke employs an eloquent hybrid of documentary and fiction to tell the story of those left behind by a rapidly transforming Chinese society. Great changes have come to the town of Fengjie due to the construction of the Three Gorges Dam: countless families that have lived there for generations have had to relocate to other cities. Fengjie’s old town has been torn down and submerged forever, but its new neighborhood hasn’t been finished yet. There are still things that need to be salvaged, and yet there are also things that must be left behind. Such life-changing choices face Sanming (Han Sanming), a miner traveling to Fengjie in search of his estranged wife, and Shen Hong (Zhao Tao), a nurse who has come to Fengjie to look for the husband she hasn’t seen in two years. In the process, they too will have to decide what in their lives is worth salvaging and what they must let go of.