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24 City (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) DVD Region 3

Joan Chen (Actor) | Lu Li Ping (Actor) | Zhao Tao (Actor) | Jia Zhangke (Director)
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24 City (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
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Customer Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10 (1)

YesAsia Editorial Description

Award-winning Mainland director Jia Zhangke continues to explores the lives of China's urban grassroots and the effects of rapid modernization in his acclaimed 2008 feature 24 City. Underlined by the gritty realism and social consciousness prevalent in all of Jia's works from Xiao Wu to Still Life, 24 City tells in part fiction, part documentary fashion the decades-spanning story of three factory women portrayed by Joan Chen (Lust, Caution), Lu Liping (Love Will Tear Us Apart), and Jia Zhangke's usual leading lady Zhao Tao (Still Life). Set in the southwestern city of Chengdu, the film captures the sweeping changes of the past few decades through the fortunes and fallouts of three women of different times and places, and the factory that ties their lives together. Screened in competition at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, 24 City had already sold distribution rights to over 30 countries before opening in China in March 2009 and setting a new domestic box office record for the director.
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Technical Information

Product Title: 24 City (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) 二十四城記 (DVD) (中英文字幕) (香港版) 二十四城记 (DVD) (中英文字幕) (香港版) 四川のうた (二十四城記) (香港版) 24 City (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
Artist Name(s): Joan Chen (Actor) | Lu Li Ping (Actor) | Zhao Tao (Actor) 陳沖 (Actor) | 呂麗萍 (Actor) | 趙濤 (Actor) 陈冲 (Actor) | 吕丽萍 (Actor) | 赵涛 (Actor) 陳沖(ジョアン・チェン) (Actor) | 呂麗萍(ロイ・ライピン) (Actor) | 趙涛(チャオ・タオ) (Actor) Joan Chen (Actor) | Lu Li Ping (Actor) | Zhao Tao (Actor)
Director: Jia Zhangke 賈樟柯 贾樟柯 賈樟柯 (ジャ・ジャンクー) Jia Zhangke
Release Date: 2009-10-15
Language: Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese
Country of Origin: China
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Sound Information: Dolby Digital 5.1
Disc Format(s): DVD, DVD-5
Region Code: 3 - South East Asia (including Hong Kong, S. Korea and Taiwan) What is it?
Duration: 108 (mins)
Publisher: CN Entertainment Ltd.
Package Weight: 120 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1021375738

Product Information

* Special Features:
- Marking of
- Trailer

Director: Jia Zhangke

In 1958, an aeronautics and armaments factory was moved from North-east China to the deep South-west. The move was in line with a rethinking of the Communist Party’s defense strategy: key military industries were shifted away from ‘vulnerable’ areas, where they might be targeted by enemies, to remote and secure inland areas. This particular factory was code-named Factory ‘420’.
In 2008, Factory ‘420’ is being moved again. Its original site, a prime location in the center of Chengdu City, is a valuable piece of real estate: it is to be redeveloped as a luxury hotel and housing complex, complete with shops and leisure facilities, under the name ’24 Cities’ – a name taken from a Tang Dynasty poem about the area. The old factory buildings are being demolished to clear the site.
Across the personal testimonies of eight people, 24 City explores the history of this factory and the fates of those who worked in it. Their testimonies add up to an account of the China-wide shift from state ownership to private enterprise – and of the consequent change in the status of workers. Much has changed, thanks to China’s embrace of the market economy. The old factory, like China’s experiment with socialism, belongs to the past.
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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "24 City (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)"

November 10, 2009

24 City is the latest offering from sixth generation Mainland China director Jia Zhangke and sees him continuing to explore themes of the country's modern history and economic progress. Here, he does this through a semi-documentary that focuses on the story of a munitions factory, once moved across the country and now being demolished to make way for the titular residential development, named after a quote from a Tang Dynasty poem. Jia is easily one of China's most interesting and challenging directors, and so it should come as no surprise that the film is a complex affair which works on many levels, both metaphorical and intimate. He is also one of the country's most acclaimed and award winning overseas exports, and as well as performing well at the domestic box office, the film enjoyed a successful run at overseas festivals, screening in competition at Cannes in 2008, with Jia being nominated for the prestigious Golden Palm.

The film relates the story of Factory 420 in the south-western city of Chengdu, charting its history from its move from its original location, its role as munitions and military production and later as part of the new market economy, to its eventful demise. Rather than simply presenting dry facts, Jia does this through a series of interviews with people whose lives have revolved around the factory in one way or another, including workers, their families, and even those whose childhood memories of the place are already fading. Through this, he tells not only the tale of the factory itself, but also of the country, its push towards economic development and the societal changes that have resulted.

Of course, 24 City is not simply a straightforward chronicle, or indeed a documentary, with Jia deliberately choosing to blur the lines between fact and fiction by employing actresses to play some of the interviewees, with their testimony being interwoven with that of the actual factory people themselves. These include Jia regular Zhao Tao (who also starred in his Still Life) as a twenty-something fashion consultant who remembers her mother's years of hard toil, Joan Chen (Lust, Caution), playing an unmarried middle-aged former factory worker nicknamed "Little Flower" due to her resemblance to the actress in one of her famous early roles, and Lu Liping (Love Will Tear Us Apart) as an elderly retired worker who relates the heart breaking story of how she lost her young son during the forced relocation of the factory and its staff. Also intriguing is the fact that the film was actually partially funded by the development corporation which demolished Factory 420 to make way for 24 City, raising further questions as to Jia's intentions and message. Certainly, this multi-layered approach works very well, with the actresses turning in wholly naturalistic performances and being indistinguishable from the rest of the cast, presenting the picture of a past which for many in modern China is already drifting into fiction.

The film, and indeed the factory works very well as a metaphor for changes in the country and the state, highlighting the enforced break up of families, with its older interviewees and characters sharing a sense of community which at the same time separates them from modern society. This gives rise to the question as to how the older generations, who toiled under Maoist doctrines can now fit into the new market led economy, depicting the way in which peoples' lives are being changed, supposedly for the greater good, though often at great cost. As usual, Jia's approach is ambiguous, and offers no easy answers, challenging the viewer in thoughtful fashion. Intellectual concerns aside, the film is also a deeply intimate affair, with many of the interviewees relating moving and tragic personal stories, making it clear that for many the factory has not only been a part of their lives, but to a very real extent was their lives. These range from tales of loss and struggle, to younger people whose recollections of the factory and its community are fragmented, and in some cases distant, but are no less affecting. Although balanced and never nostalgic, the film is nevertheless genuine and moving, and has at times an almost haunted, melancholy air, especially towards the end, and the scenes of the factory being demolished carry considerable impact.

24 City is perhaps more accessible and less obscure than some of Jia Zhangke's earlier works, and can be enjoyed either at face value or for its fascinating underlying themes. Well crafted and structured, it engages both the heart and mind, and is a must-see for anyone interested in modern Chinese history and society.

by James Mudge -

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Customer Review of "24 City (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)"

Average Customer Rating for this Edition: Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10 (1)

See all my reviews

November 27, 2009

1 people found this review helpful

A snapshot of industrial modernization Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
Although a movie as such, this mostly is an anthology of ‘interviewees’ documenting their personal descriptions relating to a Chinese aircraft engines factory called ‘420 Plant’ in Sichuan’s capital city of Chengdu, a factory eventually to be transformed into a hotel and apartment complex called ‘24 City’. But this documented look at the massive change mainland China’s heavy industry as gone through, and the thoughts of various people about old and modern China, makes for a highly recommended film. Predominantly the bulk of this movie is made up of a string of interviews (actors and none actors) with smidgens of subtle drama between the interview sections. From old factory workers to a young modern girl, each give a wide spectrum of opinions and emotive feelings about a past Maoist tradition and the new trend setting 21st Century China.

Considering the people interviewed, though, I was at first unsure if all were actors or not (for instance Lu Li Ping who performs as a mother who loses her son on a journey to Shenyang) as their accounts are so realistic and sincere, and it was only after watching the making of and reviews that I realised it was a mix of both. The individual lives that consist of the interviewees are all people who worked or associated with the ‘420 Plant’. Three women reflect on lives of toil, great loss, loneliness and yearning for stability in marriage and love (such as Joan Chen’s Shanghai woman), and feelings towards past traditions and new modernization (Zhao Tao as the New Professional Chinese Woman). Poverty and richness.

There’s also a strong spiritual impression in how this hauntingly beautiful aircraft factory reflects its past, standing admist mist and rubble as it becomes transformed into the 24 City complex. Old and New. Its rugged and massive skeletal edifice, as parts of it are continually demolished, show a breathtaking otherworldliness albeit considering its purpose as a factory. Aesthetically large unused shells of unused buildings like ‘420 Plant’ become quite esoteric in their semi-haunting and transitional states. The film of real people’s life situations (large families living in cramped rooms, dignity of labour) and personal reflections can seem mundane, but certainly this is a rich revelatory record of how fast China has changed and is constantly changing as a whole; a partial representation. As mentioned this DVD as a making of (English subs), and illuminates the film much more.
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