The 2008 earthquake in China utterly destroyed not only physical structures but also human lives in mountain cities like Beichuan. Through the gracefully interwoven stories of three survivors from the town, Fallen City documents the struggle to rebuild amidst ruin. Meanwhile, down the road, a new Beichuan is rising. The Chinese government’s solution to the devastation of the earthquake is a completely new town where the survivors can live a better, more prosperous life in spacious flats among manicured landscapes.
As the physical structures appear at a breakneck pace, we see that people’s hearts cannot be repaired as easily. First-time director Zhao Qi gives us an intimate look at Chinese life by focusing on the people’s unshakable familial love and commitment—values not seen as often in the West. Through surprising turns, haunting visuals, and the personal and political drive to forget, Fallen City becomes a testimony to the universal human will to persevere and remember. - S. S.
About the Director
Zhao Qi was the Chinese producer for the feature documentary Last Train Home by Lixin Fan, which screened at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, and China Heavyweight by Yung Chang, which played at the Festival last year. He is also a documentary filmmaker based in Beijing. Zhao worked at China Central Television (CCTV) as a director and producer for 15 years and made more than 150 television documentaries. Fallen City is his first feature-length documentary film.
Cast and Credits
Director: Zhao Qi
Executive Producers: Zhao Qi, Michelle Ho, Fan Lixin, Peter Wintonick
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