IN MEMORY OF 2008 SICHUAN EARTHQUAKE
North American Premiere
Documentary | China | 2008 | 92 m
Director: Pan Jianlin
Language: Mandarin + English subtitles
Produced by Lao Pan Film Studio
This documentary about the China’s Sichuan earthquake disaster takes an unflinching look at the devastation and the effect it has had on those who survived.
Six days after the earthquake struck, Chinese filmmaker Pan Jianlin packed his camera and rushed to Sichuan. Ten days nonstop filming and several trips afterwards, this documentary is one of the strongest reporting on the earthquake produced so far.
The film tells the story of the Muyu Middle School, located in Qingchuan county in Sichuan. Nearly 300 children died in the school’s dormitory, which collapsed as they were taking their afternoon naps. The film takes a systematic look at the details of the collapse of the school dormitory, where even the number of children who died in the collapse is in dispute. Through a series of interviews, brilliantly edited, this film becomes a relentless investigation of how people and their societies attempt to cope with unimaginable tragedy. Pan tackles these difficult issues in a remarkably dispassionate way. There are no voice-overs, no dramatic music or overdone text, no fancy graphics — just the unfolding of events.
Do not expect easy answers or sweeping condemnations here. “It was impossible to confirm what was true and what was not true,” said Pan. “So maybe everybody had some things in their stories that were true and some things that were not true. It is impossible to tell.”
2008 Official selection Pusan International Film Festival
PAN JIANLIN (Director)
Born in China in 1969, Pan Jialin studied law then worked in aviation and real estate. In 1999, he became interested in filmmaking and independently produced some documentary and fiction films. He then abandoned the career that had seemed so mapped out for him, sold his house and car, to just manage with what was essential. All his energy and money would henceforth be used for directing and producing independent films that would be firmly rooted in current realities. Since 2002 he has made Xin Niang (The Bride, 2002), a documentary that won an award in Hong Kong, and the documentary feature Ye Wei Yang (Endless Night, 2007), screened at numerous international festivals, about rape and the position of women in Chinese society. He has worked with the Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhang Ke (Sanxia haoren / Still Life), winner of the Golden Lion at Venice in 2006.