Behemoth

  • Liang Zhao
  • China, France
  • 2015
  • 90 min
  • Dutch Premiere
  • Masters
In the Old Testament, the mountains are the domain of a monster named Behemoth; in modern times the vast mining industry has taken the monster’s place. With a violent roar, the mountain spews iron ore and coal with infernal billowing smoke that leaves those working there struggling against fatigue and suffocation. The silence of the dreamlike Chinese landscapes is broken only by the thundering cacophony of explosions set to create a new entrance to the mine. The iron ore wheezes and cracks as it’s transformed into steel; growling trucks enveloped in black clouds carry their loads to and fro. The sheep farmers and their herds have been driven off the bright green pastures to make way for the ever-expanding mining industry; sick miners with ruined lungs are lying, dying, in the hospital. The “monster’s minions” have transformed a mountain paradise into an industrial zone surrounded by ghost towns of brand-new, deserted apartment blocks. Panoramic shots of the changing landscape and industrial activity alternate with silent close-ups of the workers in their shabby quarters or their hospital beds. Inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy, director Liang Zhao shares in voice-over his poetic reflections on China’s search for a paradise, one that has ended up being something a lot more like hell. Could the mythical monster have ever dreamed of this?

Credits

  • 90 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Chinese
  • Subtitles in: Chinese, English
Director
Liang Zhao
Production
Sylvie Blum for INA
Cinematography
Liang Zhao
Editing
Fabrice Rouaud
Sound
Yao Chen, Mengchu Hu

IDFA history

2014
Supported with €17500 for Classic: Production & postproduction

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IDFA history

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