The “Great Sichuan Earthquake” took place at 14:28 on May 12, 2008.
10 days after:
Scenes not seen on official/TV, “survival” is the keyword. Ordinary people are salvaging destroyed pig farms in the mountains, recuperating cents-worth scrapped metals, or pillaging victims’ homes. Behind the highly-mediatized official visits, inconsolable grief of families searching for loved ones. Throughout, a vagabond in tattered clothes wanders among the ruins, observing tragic scenes. A monk and a Taoist visionary suggest: “the earthquake is the consequence of Earth-Gods no longer worshipped.”
210 days after:
Harsh winter, villagers preparing for Lunar New Year, the Vagabond and family are detailing grievances about the ill-handling of rebuilding schemes and relief funds. Gearing up for a high official’s visit, comes a thorough clean-up of the villages and tent-resettlement for refugees. Promise made for all to live in houses in winter seems tough to keep. Fake parts in the community transformer brought electricity blackout for New Year’s Eve reunion dinners. New Year Day starts as never-ending parade of tourists buying DVDs of the most horrific scenes, souvenir albums of corpses being pulled out of the ruins, and photo taking in front of BeiChuan, the town most severely hit, where over 70000 people perished in seconds.
Documentary director, graduated from Photography School of Beijing Film Academy in 2000. Works include:
2000: ALONG THE RAILWAY, documentary;
2002:BELOW THE HIGH-RISE BUILDING, documentary;
2003: BEIJING MINUTES, short fictional film;
2004: CHILDHOOD WITH FILM, documentary;
2005: FACE AND PEACH BLOSSOMS, documentary;
2006: STONY MOUNTAIN, documentary.
From The Director
Building houses and buying lands, earning money and passing to descendants are Chinese fortune concepts based on the agricultural society for thousands of years. These concepts have experienced unprecedented changes that are still lasting in nearly 50 years. Possession of fortune had changed from a common life value into the stigma from which everyone keeps at arm's length. Over thirty years after the revolution of equalitarianism, money, unknowingly and suddenly draws great and unprecedented attentions, and becomes No. 1 after surpassing any other things.
During thirty years' huge change, we can feel the fickleness and superficial prosperity clearly, but pay less attention to the anxiety and embarrassment of the countryside in this evolution, moreover populous farmers do not know what to do or just drift with the tide. Those activities, i.e. working, going to college and doing business, etc are the ways for young farmers to help themselves. Above all, we have chosen some representing regions as points of penetration, i.e. sweat factories in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, Small Commodity Market in Yiwu, Zhejiang Province, Shanghai University City, the countryside in Anhui and Henan Provinces, and tried to probe into the living conditions of common people in China as to disclose the real situation of the Chinese along with the rising economic tide.
It is occasional and inevitable to use Umbrella as the film title. We have the honor to shoot those persons who make umbrellas, sell umbrellas and use umbrellas, whether it is a metaphor is not decided by the film itself. However, as an image symbol, the status of Umbrella in the film is indubitable, we strive hard to make Umbrella transcend itself from a material article into a super organic thinking, which is my explanation of this film.
※ Orizzonti Prize for Best documentary, the 66th Venice International Film Festival, 2009
※ The 28th International Environmental Film Festival, Special Documentary Mention,2010
※ The 9th Vienna International Film Festival, 2009
※ The 28th Vancouver Film Festival
※ The 6th Hong Kong Asian Film festival
※ The 1st Hong Kong Independent Film Festival, 2009
※ The 46th Taipei Golden Horse International Film Festival
※ The 6th Dubai International Film Festival, Muhr Awards Documentary competition
※ The 12rh BLACK MOVIE, Film Festival
※ The 32nd Cinéma du reel competitive section
※ MOMA Documentary Fortnight 2010
※ ZagrebDox 2010 competition
※ South Taiwan Film Festival The Best Documentary Film
※ Shadows film festival 2010/11
※ DOK-FILM-FORUM / Goethe-Institut Shanghai