世界: The World by Jia Zhangke
Jia Zhangke is my favorite Chinese director. To me his work most truly depicts China in all its contradictions, presenting a reality that is not smoothed over by the camera's lens, though fantastic moments sometimes exist. He comes from rural Shanxi province and many of his early films portray people coming from that area, migrating to larger cities and towns, and living on the bottoms of society.
The World is the film that intersects closely with Beijing, telling the story of a group of migrants who work at Beijing's "The World" theme park, which presents small replicas of many famous sites around the world, small simulacra's of the Pyramids or the Eiffel Tower, or the World Trade Center. . . built so Chinese wouldn't have to leave China to see the world.
The migrants in this film are performers and security guards working at the park. The camera follows their lives and struggles, as they change from uniforms to normal dress and travel out into Beijing. It captures the lives of alienated migrants far from home working strange jobs in a large city.
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