24 City (2008) — China
State-owned Factory 420 in pre-capitalist Chengdu enjoyed a patriotic past. It boasted its own schools and paid bonuses for the workers' war efforts. For several decades it was a top-secret aircraft facility, but as the decades rolled by and times changed, it later manufactured washing machines. Director Zhang Ke Jia digs deeper than the grime and noise of the factory. He captures the deeply personal memories of Factory 420 by interviewing workers and their children from three generations. Zhang deliberately blurs the lines between the real and the surreal by combining straightforward documentary interviews with dramatized interviews played by actors. When the film opens, Factory 420 is a bustle of Dickensian look and feel. By the end of the film the bulldozers have moved in, the facilities are dynamited, and construction begins on 24 City that will take its place — a five-star commercial and residential complex befitting the new China and displacing the old. The wrenching transition from industrial factory to luxury apartments is a metaphor of modern China. In Mandarin with English subtitles.