The Chinese Mayor

Da Tong

  • Hao Zhou
  • China
  • 2015
  • 87 min
  • Dutch Premiere
  • Best of Fests, Benjamin Barber: Jihad vs. McWorld 2015
Yanbo Geng is the communist mayor of Datong in China, and he has put his heart and soul into realizing his dream project of restoring and reconstructing the monumental city wall. He’s convinced that when this gigantic project is complete the tourists will come pouring in, ensuring the economic future of the city. The project has led to nearly half a million residents being forced to move. In Direct Cinema style, director Hao Zhou follows the mayor over a period of two years as he attempts to balance general public interest and a sense of justice for individuals. This doesn’t prove easy, for how should one go about rehousing people who are residing illegally in the first place? This prompts debate and demonstrations. Although Geng doesn’t shy away from confrontation, he does warn, “We have our rules. Don’t try to challenge the government.” Geng is also hard on himself, which drives his wife to distraction. We discover that he is at the mercy of the party leadership, whom he believes is unsympathetic to his Buddhist outlook. But when all is said and done, temporary personal ambitions are irrelevant, because “Datong will write a significant page in China's history!”


  • 87 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Chinese
  • Subtitles in: English
Hao Zhou
Qi Zhao for Zhaoqi Films
Executive producer
Michelle Ho for Zhaoqi Films
Hao Zhou, TianHui Zhang
Matthieu Laclau, Xiaochuan Yu, Xinming Lin, Tom Hsingmin Lin

IDFA history

Dutch Premiere
Best of Fests
Benjamin Barber: Jihad vs. McWorld 2015
Supported with €16000 for Classic: Production & postproduction

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IDFA history

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