Up the Yangtze 

"It's hard being a human, but being a common person in China is even more difficult," says one tearful shopkeeper along the soon-to-be-submerged banks of the Yangtze River in Sino-Canadian documentary filmmaker Yung Chang's lucid, beautifully observed portrait of the same incipient flood zone that served as the backdrop for Jia Zhangke's Still Life and its companion documentary, Dong. Whereas Jia turned his attention to the 2 million zombielike former residents forced to relocate on account of the world's largest hydroelectric-dam project, Chang focuses on the luxury pleasure boats that sail up and down the titular waterway, offering tourists a "farewell" cruise through this ghostly landscape of crumbling buildings painted with water-level markers. In the Yangtze, Yung finds a brilliant natural metaphor for upward mobility in modern China: Whether they hail from the lowlands or the urban centers, everyone here is scrambling to reach higher ground.

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