Archives / 2013 Sundance Film Festival

Fallen City

Film Still

Director: Zhao Qi

Institute History

Description

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.


(Archives note: see also Qi Zhao's Meet The Artist interview on our YouTube Channel.)

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.

Screening Details

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