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The Australian National University

Event details

Asia and the Pacific Screens

New Castle 新堡

5:30pm - 8:00pm
26 Oct 2016
Auditorium, China in the World Building (188), Fellows Lane, ANU

New Castle (2010)

2010, 112mins, China
Directed by Guo Hengqi 郭恒奇

Mandarin Chinese with English subtitles

Guo Hengqi’s New Castle is an unflinching documentary of the changes wrought by urbanisation in a remote mountain village in Shanxi Province sustained by local mining operations. The first part of New Castle focuses on the miners who have come from different parts of the country looking for work. In the run up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, as part of the campaign to clean up pollution, mines are closed and the miners sent back home. The documentary then shifts its attention to the lives of villagers. Faced with bleak economic prospects, the local government’s solution is ‘urbanisation': the old village is to be destroyed to make way for new apartments. The film poignantly captures the various ways in which villagers cope with upheaval in their lives—from protesting, to praying in Church, and eventually submitting to the imperative of urbanisation by administrative decree.

In the words of the director:

'When you see the destitute but honest lives of these peasants and miners on the verge of being moved into two-story apartment buildings, you can’t help but wonder, can the construction of these new buildings bring them happiness? Why is there such a discrepancy between the state’s macro-narrative and the micro-level of individual people’s lives?'


The screening will be followed by a short informal discussion with CIW Associate Director Dr Luigi Tomba and Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Nicholas Loubere.

This film is part of Asia and the Pacific Screens Season Six: Borderlands, presented by the Australian Centre on China in the World.

Updated:  16 February 2016/Responsible Officer:  Director, China in the World /Page Contact:  China in the World