Friday, January 30 at 7:30 pm marks the next instillation of Expanding the Frame series in the Walker Cinema with Jia Zhang-ke’s 24 City – a story whose jumping off point is the closing of a state-owned munitions factory, then plunges into the lives of the affected people through a series of interviews as the factory is replaced with the luxury housing complex also named 24 City.
Imagine a cross between documentary and fiction. Now imagine, if you will, that you cannot quite decipher clearly a distinction between either category – documentary or fiction. This is what Jia Zhang-ke captures in 24 City. The film addresses a subject far too many of us are familiar with today – factories, buildings, and other land being transformed into high-rise luxury apartments. Richard Brody wrote a synopsis of the film for The New Yorker, which articulates the personal aspect of the film’s characters, and the reason the line between documentary and fiction is so blurred.
Manohla Dargis of the New York Times also wrote a blurb about 24 City but, rather than simply review the film, compared and contrasted it to Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
As if a comparison to Indiana Jones weren’t enough for you – because clearly it pushed me over the edge – what really makes 24 City intriguing or at least worth-while, is the way that Jia uses the camera as his pen – a very sharp, digital pen at that – as a way to lyrically document the state of the world in a poignant yet eloquent way.