Ghost Town (2009)
2h 49min · Documentary · 27 September 2009
A remote village in southwest China is haunted by traces of its cultural past while its residents piece together their existence. Zhiziluo is a town barely clinging to life. Tucked away in a rugged corner of Yunnan Province, Lisu and Nu minority villagers squat in the abandoned halls of this remote former Community county seat. Divided into three parts, this epic documentary takes an intimate look at its varied cast of characters, bringing audiences face to face with people left behind by China's new economy. A father-son duo of elderly preachers argue over the future of their village church. Two young lovers face a break-up over harsh financial realities. A twelve year-old boy, abandoned by his family, scavenges the hillside to feed himself. "Directed with scrupulous attention to detail by Zhao Dayong" (Manohla Dargis, The New York Times), Ghost Town is "one of the most important films to have emerged from the booming (but still underexplored) field of Chinese independent documentaries" (Dennis Lim, Moving Image Source). Ghost Town "has a strong sense of historical consciousness, an eye for unique material, and a real sympathy for the people in the film and their tough lives" (Chris Berry, Goldsmiths University). "I do not expect to soon find scenes to match Ghost Town's mountaintop funeral, the running along after a rowdy exorcism, or the scanning of faces at the town Christmas chorale. His back to prosperity, Dayong finds hallowed ground" (Nick Pinkerton, Village Voice).
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