Passengers on a train, tourists at the beach, factory workers, farmers, construction workers and students: in a series of portraits, the famous Chinese independent film director Wang Xiaoshuai (Frozen, Beijing Bicycle, 11 Flowers) captures the state of his nation.
Each portrait is a carefully composed long shot, using a static camera that captures one or more people in motionless poses. But there's always movement somewhere in the frame: not all the subjects remain still, and animals, passersby and children don't obey the protocol. The resulting scenes are fascinating, moving photographs in which there's always something more to discover.
The director shows us a modern China that's a rich mix of new buildings and old courtyards, derelict industrial sites, countryside and big cities. What's most striking here is the seemingly endless amount of construction projects. This film is a motionless, non-narrative snapshot that calls a temporary halt to all this inexorable change.