Up The Yangtze

Up The Yangtze
Up The Yangtze

A documentary about the effects the building of the Three Gorges Dam across the Yangtze river in China has had on the people who lived in the surrounding areas. It a gives a good insight into the transition that China has been making over the last couple of decades to a neo-liberal capitalist state.

Submitted by bulmer on January 30, 2012

Up the Yangtze is made by EyeSteelFilm that later made the documentary Last Train Home, although with a different director, it has quite a different style.

It focuses mainly on 2 young people about to get a job on a cruise ship, a guy who receives the name 'Jerry' and a girl who receives the name 'Cindy'. We get to see a lot more of Cindy in the documentary as it also shows her family, who at the start of the film are living in a self-made hut on some squatted land that they have made into a temporary farm before it gets flooded. Her family are peasants without the skills to gain much employment, so are relying on their eldest daughter to try and be the breadwinner for the family.

Due to their peasant background, Cindy's parents only have access to limited information about the change that is happening in China. They can't read newspapers or get electricity to power a TV, so they have no chance to fully understand the changing environment around them. They are being left behind in a country that is rapidly changing and have to take each day as it comes and cope the best they can.

Jerry, who's family has more money than Cindy's but is far from 'rich', is portrayed more as an individualist who is only really bothered about the money he can earn and the status that gives him. Obviously in a country that is becoming so consumer orientated, he is representative of many people in his generation, like many around the world.

There are interviews with various people who are having to 'resettle' due to their homes being flooded. One interview with a small shop owner in particular acts as a real eye opener. It also follows some of the tourists around on the cruise. mostly rich, retired North Americans and other staff who work on the cruise.

The film can be seen on Up the Yangtze official website.


working class …

12 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by working class … on January 30, 2012

sounds interesting, will give it a watch