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Up the Yangtze

Up the Yangtze

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Today, we feature our second film from the American Film Institute/ Discovery Channel Documentary Festival known as SILVERDOCS. When filmamker Yung Chang first boarded a luxury cruise on the Yangtze River in 2002, he was a self-confessed jaded tourist. As he boarded, porters instantly grabbed passenger baggage and a band greeted him with "Yankee Doodle Dandy" (even though he's Canadian). The city, Chongquing, is a hilly, mountainous landscape and the cruise ship is part of the so-called "farewell tours" — showing parts of the river before they are flooded by the Three Gorges dam. As the cruise glided on the Yangtze, the glow of the surrounding city caught Chung's eye. It looked futuristic — like a scene from Blade Runner — where the neon glow rose luminously. It made for an interesting backdrop for the poverty and decay seen along the river. A few years later, Chung returned on board and filmed Up The Yangtze. He followed a teenage city boy, whose spoiled ways are blamed on China's one-child policy, and a teenage girl from an impoverished peasant family. Like millions of people living along the river, her family was displaced by the dam's reservoir flooding. Up the Yangtze gives us a glimpse of the ever-changing lives of people as the water rises. Have you visited Three Gorges dam or the Yangtze River? What are your impressions?

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