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I Love Beijing: The Films of Ning Ying

Sunday, October 26, 2008
1:30 p.m. Railroad of Hope
Ning Ying (China, 2001)

Ning Ying in Person


Go west, young peasant: each August and September, throngs of people travel from Sichuan to the Xinjiang Autonomous Region in China’s far west, looking for work in the cotton fields. Both particular and metaphorical, Ning’s documentary joins this new class of workers on a journey into unknown territory. Aboard a stiflingly crowded train, the filmmakers ask the migrants a series of expansive questions; brief conversations bring surprisingly intimate glimpses of individual anxieties, ambitions, and dreams. Responses to the query “What is your biggest wish?” range from “That trains were not so crowded” to “I have no wishes anymore.” Asked about the future, some travelers simply don’t answer.

—Juliet Clark

• Photographed by Ning, Guo Gang. (53 mins, In Mandarin with English subtitles, Color, DigiBeta PAL)

Preceded by shorts:
In Our Own Words (Ning Ying, China, 2001) Produced for UNICEF, this series of brief interviews highlights issues facing women and children in China. (30 mins, Color, MiniDV PAL)
Looking for a Job in the City (Jin cheng da gong) (Ning Ying, China, 2003) Women discuss human trafficking and how to avoid it in this UNICEF training film. (15 mins, Color, MiniDV PAL)

• (Total running time: 98 mins, In Mandarin with English subtitles, From Eurasia Communications)