The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. For more information on films playing in the Cinémathèque, please call 773-281-4114. To order advance tickets online, visit the TicketWeb website by clicking here.
GHOST TOWN (FEI CHENG)
"Ghost Town...is less a chronicle of misery and deprivation than a miniature epic of the everyday. In spite of its length the film feels foreshortened, as if every vignette or incident, every character encountered for a few moments, contained the germ of an unwritten novel" -New York Times
"A largely free-form look at a dying community that's more reminiscent of Frederick Wiseman's nonfiction case studies than the usual sociopolitical hand-wringing" -TimeOut NY
"Exud[es] intense humanism not via grand gestures but simply diligent, unvarnished attentiveness" -Slant
"At a leisurely 172 minutes, the pic takes on the desultory rhythms of rural stagnation, its rigorous compositions imparting aesthetic weight and meditative scope to everything in its purview" -Variety
"A quiet marvel" -Chicago Tribune
Recommended! "Astonishingly gorgeous, achingly sorrowful" -NewCity Chicago
½ "This skilled filmmaker finds much to contemplate in the long abandoned, largely depopulated Chinese town" -Chicago Sun-Times
"Ghost Town is about as handmade as filmmaking comes" -TimeOut Chicago
"A provocative, often hypnotic immersion in village life in a remote part of China" -Chicago Reader
Zhao's tremendously rewarding film illuminates the alienation and marginalization of the denizens of one of China's countless remote villages. Divided into three parts, this epic documentary takes an intimate look at its varied cast of characters, bringing audiences face to face with people who were unceremoniously left behind by China's new economy.
Zhiziluo is a remote village in China's mountainous southwest, lined with empty shells of buildings and watched over by a Chairman Mao statue. In this dilapidated ghost town, Zhao documents remarkable signs of life: father and son pastors, parsing the Bible and the teachings of long-departed missionaries; lovers whose relationships are reduced to a matter of economics; a 12-year-old boy, left behind by his parents and living a near-feral existence. Throughout, Zhao composes brilliant, haunting images that use the harsh beauty of the landscape as a counterpoint to a study of different forms of abandonment, and different modes of survival.
Cleverly structured and beautifully shot, Ghost Town is a gratifying, if ultimately heartbreaking, testimonial to the talent and commitment of China's vanguard independent documentary movement.
Directed by Zhao Dayong, China, 2008, 169 mins. In Chinese with English subtitles.