Guo Hengqi’s New Castle (2010, Guo Hengqi) is an unflinching documentary of the changes wrought by urbanisation in a remote mountain village in Shanxi Province sustained by local mining operations. The first part of New Castle focuses on the miners who have come from different parts of the country looking for work. In the run up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics approaches, as part of the campaign to clean up the pollution, mines are closed and the miners sent back home.
The documentary then shifts its attention to the lives of villagers. Faced with bleak economic prospects, the local government’s solution is – not surprisingly – urbanisation: the destruction of the old village and creation of new apartments. The film poignantly captures the various ways in which villagers cope with upheaval to their lives, from protesting, to praying in Church, to giving in to the imperative of urbanisation by administrative decree.
This film is part of Asia and the Pacific Screens Season Six: Borderlands, presented by the Australian Centre on China in the World in the Australian National University.
- Public Toilet