24 CITY (ER SHI SI CHENG SI) (Jia Zhang-ke, 2008)
MoMA Film, Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53rd St. between Fifth & Sixth Aves.
Wednesday, July 25, $8-$12, 7:00
Series runs through August 8
With the imminent closing of a once-secret munitions plant known as Factory 420 in Chengdu, eight workers relate their unique stories in another fascinating look at capitalism in a changing China by Sixth Generation writer-director Jia Zhang-ke, who has previously investigated the transformations in his native country in such excellent works as Platform, Unknown Pleasures, The World, Useless, and Still Life. While five of the tales are told by actual male workers in their own words, three are fictional stories recited by female actors, including Joan Chen as Little Flower, Lü Liping as Hao Dali, and Jia regular Zhao Tao as Su Na. Jia sees the factory, which is being torn down to make way for a luxury apartment complex called 24 City, as a symbol of contemporary China, as the past is ripped away in favor of capitalist-based technological modernization and the celebration of wealth. By intermingling fact and fiction, as he does in most of his work, Jia creates a fascinating pseudo-documentary that also subtly touches upon women’s changing role in Chinese industry and society. 24 City is screening at MoMA on July 25 at 7:00 as part of “A View from the Vaults: Recent Film Acquisitions,” which continues through August 8 with such other works being added to MoMA’s collection as Alfonso Cuarón’s Y Tu Mamá También, William Wellman’s Night Nurse, Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky, and Pere Portabella’s Cuadecuc, vampir (Count Dracula).