Monday, September 22, 2008

Film-screening: 煤市街 (Sep 23, Tuesday, 7-9pm, 120-215)

Film Screening and Discussion

Meishi Street


Ou, Ning

Working language: Chinese

Tuesday, September 23, 7-9pm

Room 215, Building 120
450 Serra Mall Stanford, CA 94305

Meishi Street

Digital video, color, 85 minutes, English subtitle, 2006

Director: Ou Ning

Original video by: Zhang Jinli

Additional camera work: Huang Weikai, Ou Ning, Cao Fei

Meishi Street is located on the southwest side of Beijing's Tiananmen Square and runs from north to south. In this old city district, called Da Zha Lan, the city was carrying out a project to improve traffic and facilities for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. On December 27, 2004, the Beijing Municipal Government launched a project to widen Meishi Street to 25 meters from its original 8 meters. Many of the original residents living along the street faced the demolition of their homes and relocation to other areas of the city. Zhang Jinli, Sun Tiesheng and Liu Ruiping are three of these residents. They're not satisfied with the compensation plan made by the government and developers and started a journey of protecting their rights. All failed in the end though with their properties destroyed by force, even including Zhang Jinli, the most resistant one. This is not a rare case in most cities in China during the process of development. However, what's special about this film is many clips were taken by these victims themselves, which irreplaceably strengthens the passion and pain you can feel in them. Their struggles changed Meishi Street, a normal urban space, and gave it new meanings. In the age of sharp changes, equipped with cameras, Zhang Jinli and the likes are the recorders of alternative history.

Ling Yang and Tianjue Luo
ChinaRains at Stanford University

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