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// Films // Up the Yangtze

National Film Board

Up the Yangtze

Yung Chang / Canada / 2008 / 93 ' / Chinese / S.T. English


Hannele Halm
Yung Chang
Shi Qing Wang
Olivier Alary
Mila Aung-Thwin, Sally Bochne, John Christou, Daniel Cross, Ravida Din, Lixin Fan, Li Li & Germaine Wong
Production Management: Gary Evans
Post-Production Supervisor: Li Li

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Awards & Festivals

2008 Sundance Film Festival, Official Selection
2008 Winner, Vancouver International Film Festival, Best Canadian Documentary
2008 Winner, San Francisco International Film Festival, Best Feature Documentary
2009 Winner, Independent Spirit Awards, Best Documentary

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The film focuses on people affected by the building of the Three Gorges Dam across the Yangtze river as China welcomes in the 21st century.


In China, it is simply known as “The River.” But the Yangtze—and all of the life that surrounds it, is undergoing a truly astonishing transformation wrought by the largest hydroelectric project in history, the Three Gorges Dam. For some, the Dam, the world’s biggest hydroelectric dam, is a symbol of China’s 21st century ambitions. But for millions living on the banks of the mythic Yangtze River it’s the end of their way of life. Canadian documentary filmmaker Yung Chang returns to the gorgeous, now-disappearing landscape of his grandfather’s youth to trace the surreal life of a “farewell cruise” that traverses the gargantuan waterway.

This film gives a human dimension to the wrenching changes facing not only an increasingly globalized China, but the world at large. Up The Yangtze is a powerful, moving, gorgeously shot documentary. The film is winner of numerous awards including the Vancouver Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival.


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