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GUANGGUN is a trendy Chinese observance that celebrates being single, but Yu Guangyi’s latest doc sees bachelorhood as something much more complicated. Returning to the snowbound logging region of Survival Song and Timber Gang, Yu again documents the struggles – and modest pleasures – of a dying town and its people. In China’s remote north, the women abandon the village for city jobs. With only men, the elderly and the children remaining, the village faces a fundamental fight for survival beyond a changing logging industry.
- Yu Guangyi
- Yu Guangyi
To have a son to carry on the family name has long been considered of utmost importance by the Chinese and is, as such, the lifelong bewilderment and pursuit of the bachelors who live on the mountain. This film was shot in the forest zone in the farthest north of China. The lumbermen have lost their jobs as a result of excessive deforestation. Women in the mountain have gone away to earn a living, leaving dozens of bachelors hanging around. Some Korean women were brought there to sell at a price of seven to eight thousand each. But they would slip away after giving birth to a child. It was said that they escaped back to Korea. There were also women from other places coming in to swindle money through bogus marriages.
Sanliangzi has secretly fallen for the spinster for the last ten years. He expresses his love by offering his assistance to her. He is immersed in his imagined romance and enjoys it without regret. It may not lead to any results, but the spinster has become a part of his life.
It took two years to finish this film. It is the third film after I was back in my hometown in 2004. I want the future generations to know, through this film, about how their predecessors, or compatriots, lived to win bread and love.
- SHANGHAI TV DOCUMENTARY CHANNEL
- C/O YU GUANGYI
Yu Guangyi depicts local residents struggling to maintain their traditional way of life amidst the pressures of urbanization, environmental degradation, social change and outward migration
Yu Guangyi was born in 1961 in China's northeastern Heilongjiang Province. A childhood love of drawing and painting led him to the southern city of Hangzhou, where he attended the China Academy of Art. Upon graduation, he embarked on a successful career as a wood-block print artist. Many of his best-known works are simple, moving, black and white depictions of rural life in the Changbai mountains, where he was born and raised. In 2004, after an absence of nearly two decades, Yu Guangyi returned to these mountains and began a series of documentary films about local residents struggling to maintain their traditional way of life amidst the pressures of urbanization, environmental degradation, social change and outward migration. Yu Guangyi divides his time between Datong city, Heilongjiang, and a cabin he built in the Changbai mountains.