UCL Grand Challenge of Global Health

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Film excerpts and Q&A

UCL Grand Challenges: Sustainable Cities

15th January 2013 7pm

UCL Roberts Building, 106, 1st Floor, Torrington Place, WC1 Map

Introduced by Dr Michael Clark (King’s College, London)
Dr Clark will screen sections of the following films that represent some of the larger issues thrown up by China’s very rapid urban development.
Q and A with Zhang Meng 张猛

Last Train Home (Guitu lieche 归途列车, 2009)
Director: Fan Lixin 范立欣

Guitu lieche

This film documents the largest world migration of modern times, the annual return for the Chinese New Year of migrant workers to their home towns and villages and to the families they have left behind. Nearly every worker has abandoned children, parents or grandparents in the attempt to build a better future for them, in the fast-paced society that discards traditional ways in a rush towards modernity and global economic power. The story follows the Zhangs, who 16 years before left their infant children behind in Sichuan, and now return from Guangzhou to find a family grown distant and an unhappy teenage daughter longing to leave school and family for the precarious life of an unskilled worker in the big city.

A piano in a factory (Gang de qin 钢的琴, 2011)
Director: Zhang Meng 张猛

Gang de qin

In the north-eastern city of Anshan in the early 1990s, an ex-steel factory worker, scraping a living as an accordionist in a band that plays at marriages and funerals, decides to make a piano from scratch for his music-loving daughter. He commandeers the shuttered factory's resources as well as the help of various mates made redundant in a new economy drive to accomplish the task.
This tragicomic depiction of life on the margins of the bleak industrial wasteland of north-eastern China portrays with humour and affection the psychology and misadventures of people living at the bottom of the income pyramid in an old industrial community. A tale about a scrappy band of misfits united by an impossible cause, punctuated by a hilarious soundtrack of Cold-War-era Soviet pop songs as a satirical motif, this is a lovely story with great visual appeal.

Hello Mr. Tree (Hello!树先生, 2011)
Director: Han Jie 韩杰

Hello Shu xiansheng2

Hello Mr. Tree is a dark fable of greed and guilt told in an absurdist key. It weaves the strange fate of a misfit into the backdrop of a rural community which is being ruthlessly uprooted by a private mining venture. Shu (‘tree’ in Chinese) is a motor mechanic in a small village in the north-eastern province of Jilin. Obsessed by memories of his dead father and brother, Shu becomes incapable of separating dreams and hallucinations from reality. He refuses to move even after the entire village has been lured into resettlement. But in an ironic twist, some of his visions come true and he is revered as a prophet.
In most inland cities in China, as cities rapidly spread across the land, urbanization feeds on the development of natural-resource-based industries, engulfing the rural areas and challenging the lives and values of the local people.

Part of the Festival of Chinese Film and the Body 2012

Organised with Patrizia Liberati, PhD candidate at Peking University.

Running up to Chinese New Year 2013, the UCL China Centre for Health and Humanity will be showing a season of recent Chinese films related to the UCL Grand Challenges themes: Global Health, Intercultural Interaction, Sustainable Cities and Human Wellbeing. The screenings will be presented by three film specialists. Where possible, they will also feature Q & As with the directors.

All the screenings are open, free of charge, to all members of UCL and registered Friends of UCL CCHH. To become a Friend, please click here.

The Festival forms part of the new CCHH course Chinese Film and the Body.
For details of the course, please click here.

Page last modified on 26 nov 12 12:18