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The Chinese Mayor
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The Chinese Mayor
IDFA 2015

The Chinese Mayor

Da Tong
Hao Zhou
China
2015
87 min
Dutch Premiere
Festival history
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!”
Credits
Screening copy
    Zhaoqi Films
    Zhaoqi Films
World Sales
    Autlook Filmsales
    Autlook Filmsales
Distribution Benelux
    IDFA Bertha Fund
    IDFA Bertha Fund
Production
Executive producer
Involved TV Channel
    Knowledge Network,
    DR Sales,
    BBC,
    NHK Enterprises,
    SVT
    Knowledge Network,
    DR Sales,
    BBC,
    NHK Enterprises,
    SVT