DER Documentary

Demolition (Chaiqian)


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by JP Sniadecki
color, 62 min, 2008
From the Sensory Ethnography Lab Series




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Demolition is a portrait of urban space, migrant labor, and ephemeral relationships in the center of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province in western China. Attending first to the formal dimensions of the transforming worksite - including the demands of physical labor and the relationship between human and machine - the film shifts focus to the social dynamics of a group of thirty men and women who have come from the countryside to work in this ever-changing urban landscape. In exploring the various banal yet striking interactions between these members of China's "floating population," the city's residents, and the filmmaker, Demolition simultaneously expresses and resists the fleeting nature of urban experience.

“A statement about observation, the photographic frame, and the qualities of digital photography that allow us to enter the world of Chinese migrant workers and the rapidly changing urban landscape of Chengdu; the deep phenomelogically informed style results in a detailed and sensuous ethnography.” — Official jury statement, Sardinia International Ethnographic Film Festival

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Most Innovative Film Award, Sardinia International Ethnographic Film Festival, 2010
Punto de Vista International Documentary Film Festival, 2010
Joris Ivens Award (International Competition), Cinéma du Réel, 2009
Vienna International Film Festival, 2008
Shadow Festival for the Creative Documentary, 2008
3rd Beijing Independent Film Festival
XIX International Festival of Ethnological Film, Belgrade, Serbia, 2010
Sardinia International Ethnographic Film Festival, Italy, 2010
American Anthropological Association/Society for Visual Anthropology Conference, New Orleans, LA, 2010
Contro-Sguardi: International Anthropological Film Festival, Perugia, Italy, 2010
Athens Ethnographic Film Festival, Greece, 2010

View more photos on www.flickr.com

Other Films in the Sensory Ethnography Lab Series
Kāle and Kāle by Stephanie Spray (50 min, 2007)
Monsoon-Reflections by Stephanie Spray (22 min, 2007)
On Broadway by Aryo Danusiri (62 min, 2011)
Songhua by JP Sniadecki (28 min, 2007)
Still Life by Diana Allan (25 min, 2007)


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