A River Runs, Turns, Erases, Replaces
Composed of exquisite wide shots, Shengze Zhu’s gripping, observational portrait of Wuhan offers a poetic reflection on the pandemic, set against the ever-changing Yangtze.
Zhengfan Yang, Shengze Zhu
USA 2021. 87min
BURN THE FILM
With English subtitles
Chicago-based documentary filmmaker Shengze Zhu’s (Present.Perfect) film is a poetic reportage of her hometown and the Yangtze River that runs through it. Through a series of enigmatic long takes (filmed between 2016 and 2019), we observe desolate construction sites, enormous bridges and scattered river swimmers, over which we read four handwritten letters addressed to those who lost their lives to COVID. These two interwoven layers form a poignant and complex image of the city – constantly shifting like Yangtze itself – and propose a counter-narrative to the Wuhan the world has seen only in the headlines. Experienced on a large screen, Zhu’s film melds the personal with the universal by placing our collective memory within the city’s immense and mesmerising landscapes.
Hyun Jin Cho
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