Zhiziluo is a small town that is hidden among the southwestern mountains in China. Empty buildings rise up under the gaze of a statue of Mao; it is a town that is about to disappear. A few signs of life still resist this complete abandonment: a pastor and his son follow the Christian teachings of the missionaries and a woman is torn between her love and her obligation to enter a combined marriage. A boy who has been abandoned by his parents looks after himself and other children on their own, while all around the town nature grows indifferently.
“When China took the brutal path of the Cultural Revolution, it lost sight of the most fundamental understanding of the value of human life. In the decades following this national tragedy, as Chinese busied themselves with becoming materially prosperous to the point of sacrificing their own well-being, they once again lost sight of the cultural and spiritual meaning of life. What little was left of our culture again faced extinction. In this film I wanted to explore the idea of these lost histories and ravaged cultures.”
Zhao Dayong, after graduating from China’s Lu Xun Art Academy
in 1992, worked for a number of years as a professional artist and advertising
director. He was also founding editor of “Culture & Morals”, a journal for
the contemporary arts in China. Zhao’s directorial debut, Street Life, premiered
at Austria’s Viennale in 2006. The film was screened the following year
at Berlin’s Globale Film Festival, and at the Rome AsiaticaFilmMediale, where
it won the City of Rome Prize. He is currently in post-production on his third
documentary, My Father’s House.
Street Life (doc., 2006), Ghost Town (doc., 2008), Xialiu shige (Rought
Poetry, mm, 2009).
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