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Asian Project Market
One Nation, Two Cities

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One Nation, Two Cities

Directed by Cheung King-Wai

  • China 2011; 70 min
  • Original version: Cantonese
  • Genre: Documentary

  • From the director of THE IDIOTS presented at Asian Project Market

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Every three months, a Chinese single mother, Xue takes a 10-hour-journey from Hong Kong to her hometown in Fujian, China with one hand dragging her heavy luggage and another hand holding her child. She has to extend her visiting visa there to continue her stay in Hong Kong with her family, which migrated to Hong Kong and left her behind when she was 8. It is in fact an unspoken policy during 1980s in China that the local government would let the whole family move to Hong Kong except one child, so that they would send money and other materials back. Therefore, Xue received the best clothes from parents, but the price was that she could only meet them during holidays. Since then, applying the right of abode in Hong Kong for family reunion has become her main goal. Her twisted and unstable life leads her marriage to a failure. Drinking red wine with her rich Fujian friends in a penthouse, she finds that her broken family is not the only one. When Chinese migrates to other cities, have we tried to understand the story behind them? One Nation, Two Cities, a poetic and emotional engaging film from the most known documentary filmmaker in the Greater China, draws us into the fractured life of a migrant, whose family is broken by policies. It is an epic spectacle that tells us how Chinese migrants sacrifice the traditional family value as the country hurtles towards modernity and economic boom.

Director's Statement

The new migrants from the Mainland are commonly labeled as uneducated, uncivilized and inferior by most Hong Kong people, although our society is formed by migrants. Especially at the time of crisis, like the economic recess, the new migrants are deemed as pests competing jobs with locals. Categorizing the new migrants as “them” vs “us,” the locals dehumanize the new migrants and make judgments without a holistic understanding. I try to illustrate the whole life journey of a mainland migrant in this film. Brought to her bedroom where she was born, the schools that she attended, the family that she was left behind and the campus that she dated with her husband, audience can comprehensively understand Xue as a whole human. Besides, another thing that I try to achieve is actually affected by Chinese historian Ray Huangʼs marco history perspective. If one separately looks at any policies or incidents in the film, one may easily make a moral judgment or feel very emotional to the characters and the situations. However, if we move few steps back and look at the story in the context of, say, at least, few hundreds years of Chinese history, we may have a more impartial and rational understanding. Instead of shouting the slogans passionately and furiously motivated by some current outraging events, I believe, a better way to make the world a better place is by our unemotional sympathy to the events, and it originates from our marco perceptive to examine our world.



    Cheung King-wai