'Yangtze' rises to the occasion

Review -- B

June 27, 2008|By Michael Sragow | Michael Sragow,Sun movie critic

A government-sanctioned cruise company's luxury-ship tour of the Yangtze River, which is rising with the completion of the world's biggest hydroelectric project (The Three Gorges Dam), becomes a microcosm of forced social change in Up the Yangtze. This quietly compelling documentary centers on one Chinese teenager who joins the trip as a dishwasher and another who becomes a steward and a bartender.

Every second of this film is personal. The writer-director, Yung Chang, a Canadian of Chinese ancestry, made his first journey to the Yangtze "a few years ago," hoping to find the world of his grandfather. As he says in his modest, dignified narration, he takes this trip to document just how quickly the traces of that world have been disappearing.

Zeitgeist ) A documentary by Yung Chang. Unrated. Time 93 minutes.

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