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THE LAST TOWN
Director: Yan Chun Su
Producer: Yan Chun Su
Winner of the SUSTAINING TRADITIONS
ABOUT THE FILM
In order to complete the Three Gorges Dam hydroelectric project in China, a total of sixteen historical towns, some with more than 2000 years of history, had to be flooded. Kai Xian was the last of the 16 towns. Filmed in Kai Xian shortly before the final relocation, THE LAST TOWN is a portrait of the town and its residents as they ready (or not) themselves for the big move.
Facing widespread land disputes and unfair relocation assignment, many of the unprivileged residents had to deal with the hardship of not only leaving their homeland behind, but also how to make a decent living afterward. Dust-filled streets and crumbled houses provided the backdrop for stories of ordinary residents dealing with the uncertainty ahead.
I felt compelled to see what old Kai Xian looked like after I found out it was the last old town to be flooded for the Three Gorges Dam Project. What I saw was quite surreal. People burning door frames, window frames on the street, metal salvagers picking on piles of rubble, and the almost eerie contrast between ordinary, everyday activities and the fact that people there were going through a historical time - they were the witnesses and also part of a town’s more than one thousand years of history about to be flooded forever.
The residents still struggling to make the move discovered me very quickly on the street and I was able to record this small glimpse of their lives. It is hopeful that by having their voices recorded, their stories and situations could weigh in on future developments with such profound human impacts.
Old Kai Xian town was completely flooded in 2009. Corruption is still widespread.
Many people are struggling in the new city. In order to rake in as much profit as possible, contractors appointed by local government constructed sub-standard housing and immigrants with little financial and political backing were more likely to be assigned to live in those buildings.
RELATED CATEGORIESenvironment, family & society, politics / government, Media That Matters 10,
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