Up the Yangtze (2007) — China
Chinese-Canadian film maker Yung Chang remembers the stories that his grandfather told him about the Yangtze River, but with the Three Gorges Dam those stories are disappearing beneath the rising floods created by the dam. Completed in 2006, the dam is the largest hydroelectric power station in the world, and a source of Chinese pride for taming the mythic river with engineering skill and creating economic opportunities. But Chang is interested in how the dam displaced about two million peasants who lived along the river. "The little family sacrificed for the big family," explains one peasant. Chang focuses on the Yu family. The mother and father are illiterate, and eke out a subsistence living on the shores of the Yangtze. Their middle school-age daughter wants to go to college, but they compel her to skip high school in order to work on a cruise ship that caters to Americans and Europeans. The entire film, and the cruise ship in particular, are jarring metaphors for China's socio-economic upheavals and interface with the modern world. Up the Yangtze was nominated for Best Documentary for the Independent Spirit Awards. In Mandarin with English subtitles.