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Up the Yangtze

The new Chinese Dream
By GERALD PEARY  |  June 4, 2008
3.5 3.5 Stars
Up the Yangtze

This telling, absorbing documentary takes Yung Chang, a talented Chinese-Canadian filmmaker, on a melancholy trip to the country of his grandparents, where the Three Gorges Dam project is forcibly relocating two million mostly embittered Chinese citizens living along the Yangtze River. Chang sets his camera on a luxury cruise liner sailing up and down the Yangtze. The clientele are Western tourists, so the Chinese employees on the boat are given Anglicized names. We follow “Cindy,” a shy, homesick Chinese peasant girl assigned to lowly dishwashing duties, and “Jerry,” a handsome, partying narcissist who carries the bags of American visitors so he can hustle for greenback tips. Their stories become a microcosm of the country’s new generation and its new Chinese Dream — which is as much a cheat and deception as the American one. Mandarin + English | 93 minutes | MFA: June 6-8 + 12-15
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