24 City (Er shi si cheng ji) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

24 City (Er shi si cheng ji) Reviews

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½ June 21, 2015
Was it a drama or a documentary, I'm confused. But it was good.
April 12, 2015
Don't go looking for a plot. Instead, embrace this variety of stories from Chengdu, China, residents (real and imagined). In a world where we learn life lessons from "Humans of New York" and TED Talks, the experiences of the film's characters have mass appeal and poignancy.
November 29, 2012
I have been watching a few films that combines elements of documentary and narrative filmmaking lately. This one continues that trend. This film is a series of interviews of a group of people who have worked in Factory 420 in the Chengdu province of China which manufactured airplane parts. Some of the interviews are from real people. Some of it is from actors. Apart of Joan Chen's segments (who is excellent, her segments are the best in the film), I had trouble telling which is which. Some segments of course are better than others. But the film mostly works as a whole and it's gorgeously shot.
April 23, 2012
I'm not a fan of documentaries, so 24 City is not really the kind of film I find particularly interesting. That said it is a beautifully shot film, and is fairly interesting in the contrast presented between the three generations all with connections to factory 420. The film becomes even more interesting after discovering that the people interviewed were a combination of 'real' interviews and those performed by actors, calling into question the documentary aspects of the film and the manipulation that is always present within a film, brought forward by the filmmaker.
February 14, 2012
Another masterpiece by the great Jia Zhang Ke. Quietly absorbing, and ingeniously constructed as a hybrid of documentary and documentary style fiction. Highly recommended.
January 12, 2011
Arthouse docudrama that is slow moving, but visually compelling. I'd recommend this to anyone interested in the rapid change of modern China and the reflections of those experiencing it.
Super Reviewer
½ January 5, 2011
Compelling story of a decision to destroy a long time munitions factory to make way for a condo development. It is a story that is told worldwide as politics and economics change. Would merit a higher rating but the director chose to use both real former factory workers and actors. The result is slightly disjointed and a bit misleading.
Super Reviewer
December 22, 2010
Thankfully, "24 City" is not a continuation of the television series "24." All kidding aside, it is easier to describe what "24 City" is not, than what it is. Ostensibly, it is about the tearing down of Factory 420 in Chengdu City in order to make way for luxury apartments. That is only a starting point for an exploration of the recent history of China as it has moved from a country always on a war footing to one that is now ruled by capital, with the airplanes once made in the factory now museum pieces. This is told through static interviews with former workers, managers and others involved in the factory, the last of whom being Su Na(Tao Zhao), a professional shopper who frequently travels to Hong Kong for her clients.

And as you can see and I have read elsewhere, some of these subjects are played by actors and I am not really sure which ones are which. One interviewee, Gu Minhua, who claims she was once compared to Joan Chen is actually Joan Chen. So, basically, "24 City" sits on the edge of documentary and experiment, not totally successful, that maybe should have been attempted on a stage, instead.
November 15, 2010
This second effort I've seen from Jia, shares similar themes to Still Life's people tales and the construction of the Three Gorges Dam. Using people's tales some real, some fictitious, Jia reflects on the transformation of a munitions factory, in Chengdu, that served the Chinese military during wars in Korea and Vietnam into a modern contemporary urban living complex. Parts of the film I really enjoyed, particularly the excellent cinematography which lifted the film out of its documentary like feel into an arthouse level. Where I wasn't sure if it worked was when switching between fact and fiction although Iā(TM)m sure that was thrown in to make a link between the fantasy and reality of communism.
July 28, 2010
Half documentary, half work of fiction about three generations of factory workers in China. Quite affecting stuff, really, spoilt somewhat by an annoying fidget in the row in front of me. Kept lying across the seats, putting her bare feet up on the chairs in front for us all to look at, cuddling up to the girl beside her. She was really starting to vex me, but thankfully she left before shit got out of hand.
½ July 25, 2010
“"24 City" borrows its structure from documentary to more effectively transmit its "real" message of a changing China and is successful in doing that.

Multi-award winner Chinese director Jia Zhang-Ke returns to fiction with "24 City" after winning Venice“s Gold Lion in 2006 with "Sanxia haoren" (in the same year he saw his documentary "Dong" win two awards and in 2007 he won another one for the documentary "Wuyong"). "24 City" was produced in 2008 and the director (as of 2010) has already another short and a new documentary.

Jia Zhang-Ke, who also co-wrote the script, uses the closing of state factory 420 (a military unit facility) in Chengdu and the conversion its grounds into a huge housing and commercial complex named 24 City (24 City is an old poem) to show us how China is changing. Versatility as a fictionist and a documentarist are as must important as the director steals the structure from documentary and fuses documentary with fiction. Jia Zhang-Ke shots several characters from different generations telling us their life experiences, all of them having some connection to the factory (some are real interview with factory workers; others are fictional played by actors). The factory serves as a common point between characters but also as a symbol of a changing China; this change is evident in the speech, experiences and expectations from the different generations during the course of the movie. As the movie progresses the film wins consistency and unity. Bridging between the different interviews are sequences that show the dismantling of factory 420 as well as the new project to be implemented and we also accompany some of the characters in their lives; Zhang-Ke uses songs and phrases from Chinese and non-Chinese poets in these segments. If trough the words of his characters in the interviews the director manages to put to testimony a China in mutation with the bridging segments we reinforces that messages through the art of music and poetry. China's change is not only economic but also cultural and it is obvious some degree of occidentalization/globalization of the new generation. It is here where real and fictional gain significance as we get the feeling that there seems to be a mixture of both in the history of China's mutation. "24 City" is a good film. *** (3/5).
July 22, 2010
good stuff kinda doc style
½ July 14, 2010
Docu-drama with some evocative cinematic moments but not what I expected. Parts were extremely convincingly acted others were quite obviously staged. Would have liked to have found out more about factory 420 when it was up and running as felt like I didn't know enough background.
June 23, 2010
Workers reminisce about a Chinese military factory that is being replaced with a housing development. Interesting mix of real interviews together with scripted actors isn't exactly a documentary, yet doesn't have a standard movie plot or conclusion.
June 3, 2010
the history of china has never been told in such poetic yet realistic form. every story is moving and touching with its own unique struggle, history or time connects them all yet human emotions transcend history. screen writer/director jia has a very keen sensibility denoting china's changes in all aspects of life, the clothes, movies, songs and many more. all the minor details seamlessly weave together so well that i feel as if i have found my oldest and best treasure tucked away deep in my heart. i simply love the movie, and love my chinese life.
½ April 22, 2010
A drier (put bluntly, less action-packed) experience than "Still Life", where there was at least the construction and destruction of buildings to marvel at. Focusing on one done deal leaves Jia open to the accusation that he's resigned to globalisation, rather than especially critical of or angry about it; it's this tone of wistful nostalgia - underlined by the extracts of poetry and period pop songs he deploys - that presumably keeps him on the right side of the authorities. Were there no workplace accidents in Factory 420? No deadening shifts? If there were, nobody seems to remember any. Jia's methodology - shifting fluidly from one register into another - is liable to leave us as suspicious as anybody's; we could just, I think, be watching a playing out of the official line, in the guise of a director playing with our expectations of film form. One touching encounter early on reunites a middle-aged labourer with the (now retired, and profoundly deaf) boss who schooled him as an apprentice; the rest looks as though designed to be watched (and all too easily rubberstamped) in dusty committee rooms and smarter-than-thou symposiums.
½ March 21, 2010
The mixture of actors and real person drove me nuts. Joan Chen's unconvincing performance was not entirely her fault. Surprisingly, Zhao Tao's performance was memorable, she's so talented. I still admire Jia of his courage to experiment new film language though.
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