Up the Yangtze | Chicago Reader

Up the Yangtze

Visually stunning, this documentary by Chinese-Canadian filmmaker Yung Chang is part travelogue, part social critique of China's economic miracle and the sweeping cultural changes it is forcing in its wake. The narrative follows two teen employees of a luxury liner that offers a “farewell cruise” along the fabled mighty river, giving Westerners a tour of vistas soon to be flooded by the Three Gorges Dam. Topside, upwardly mobile bartender Chen Bo Yu (“Jerry”) blends easily with the middle-class customers, while in the kitchen below dishwasher Yu Shui (“Cindy”) laments that she must forgo an education to support her peasant family. Trained in Sanford Meisner's acting techniques, the director wrests surprisingly emotional disclosures from his subjects. In English and subtitled Mandarin and Sichuan. NR, 93 min.

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