Date/Time: 11/04/2009 12:00 am
TIE XI QIU: WEST OF THE TRACKS (dir. Wang Bing, 2003, 556 min.)
WHEN: Saturday 11 April 2009, 10.45am-9.30pm
WHERE: Screening Room 648, 721 Broadway
FREE and open to public
The last 30 years have not borne witness, as Francis Fukuyama predicted it would, to the end of history, but rather to its beginning. What has been unfolding in China has been a breathtakingly accelerated version of the Industrial Revolution, a violent and violating shift from state socialism to an embrace of free-market economics whose social and human impact is still far from being understood.
On a par, in its ambition, achievement and importance, with â•˘Shoahâ•˙, â•˘The Battle of Chileâ•˙ and â•˘Hour of the Furnacesâ•˙, TIE XI QIU: WEST OF THE TRACKS (2003) represents the boldest and most fearless attempt to document and narrate these upheavals. Nine hours in length, it is a quite extraordinary masterpiece, at once an unfathomably revealing x-ray of modernity and a map of Chinaâ•˙s future whose stunning, prophetic force takes it into science fiction territory.
Filmed between 1999 and 2001, it chronicles the slow death of the once thriving Tie Xi industrial district in the countryâ•˙s northeast, and the resulting transformations on the lives and souls of its workers. Writer Luc Sante has described it as presenting audiences â•˛with the panoramic spectacle of progress collapsingâ•ˇ. For the New York Times it is a â•˛profoundly empathetic and humanist work bearing witness to a vanished way of life and the real cost of progressâ•ˇ. Variety asked: â•˛Is there a more sublime debut in recent history?â•ˇ
Director Wang Bing (b.1967) is widely acknowledged to be one of the one of the foremost film makers in contemporary cinema. He creates towering, epic works – about migration, memory, deindustrialization – whose scope, intensity and affective power defy belief. No one with even the slightest interest in labor, globalization, the aesthetics of ruins, popular historiography, modern China â•” or the outer-limits possibilities of cinema itself – can afford to miss this film.
TIE XI QIU: WEST OF THE TRACKS has almost never been screened in its entirety in New York. No English-language version is at present commercially available. This screening is an embodiment of Event Cinema: a sustained, immersive and memorably experiential engagement with a definitive global film work.
The screening, prefaced by a short introduction by Angela Zito, will begin at 10.45am on Saturday 11 April 2009. It will run till approximately 9.30pm. There will be several intervals. Refreshments will be provided.
All attendees will receive a free copy of â•˘Leaving The Factory: Wang Bingâ•˙s Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracksâ•˙, a specially-created and beautifully-produced collection of essays on the film from an international group of writers, academics and Sinophiles.
Organised by the Colloquium for Unpopular Culture with the generous support of the Department of Cinema Studies.
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