The Chinese Mayor
Dir. Zhou Hao. 2014, 89 mins. Digital projection. In Mandarin with English subtitles. Once the thriving capital of Imperial China, the city of Datong now lies in near ruins. Not only is it the most polluted city in the country, it is also crippled by decrepit infrastructure and even shakier economic prospects. But Mayor Geng Tanbo plans to change all that, announcing a bold, new plan to return Datong to its former glory, the cultural haven it was some 1,600 years ago. Such declarations, however, come at a devastatingly high cost. Thousands of homes are to be bulldozed, and a half-million of its residents need to be relocated—many unwillingly. The Chinese Mayor captures, with remarkable access, a man and, by extension, a country leaping frantically into an increasingly unstable future. Winner of the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Prize for Unparalleled Access at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. Preceded by Hotel 22 (Dir. Elizabeth Lo. 2014. 8 mins. Digital projection.) Each night in Silicon Valley, transit line 22 transforms from a public city bus into an unofficial shelter for the homeless in one of the richest parts of the world.
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