Arts, Culture & Media

Up the Yangtze

Yung Chang grew up in China, but moved to Taiwan in his 20s and never returned to the mainland but the Yangtze remained on his mind. The river is rising, because China is building the largest hydroelectric project in the world, the Three Gorges Dam. The stories of the Yangtze nourished Yung Chang's childhood. Chang was born and raised in Canada, but his grandfather kept in engaged in China, and a lot of his stories were involved in the Yangtze river. �Up the Yangtze� is less about a river and more about what's happening to the some-2 million people the Three Gorges Dam project is displaced. The movie focuses on one woman, 16 years old and very poor, in particular who went to work in a tourist boat which cruises the river which would soon submerge her home. In one scene, the mother is talking to her daughter and says she doesn't want to exploit her but they have to send her to work because they need the money. This professor and analyst says the movie is a very fair portrayal of the issues facing the Three Gorges Dam. The girl goes to work on the tourist boat. Director Yung Chang captures the strange humor of the situation as well. The girl's heart is not in the work, and for her it's the end of her dreams. For another boy, he looks forward to the opportunity. But things don't work out as many would expect, and the girl actually makes it while the boy fails. Nearly everyone in the movie seems to represent an aspect of contemporary China and it's fine for the director if the movie works on that level, but he says he was just trying to tell a good story.

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