01: Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks - Remnants

29 March, 2018 - 11:00

West of the Tracks presents us with the panoramic spectacle of progress collapsing. Industry folds and empties its plants; workers lose their jobs and their benefits; people are idle and demoralized, and then they are unhoused, and they demolish their own former dwellings to cash in on their value as scrap; people scavenge among gargantuan ruins that loom like the remnants of a forgotten civilization of giants. It is every twentieth-century mural depiction of the struggle for the good life – socialist or capitalist – viewed in reverse. It is as if the film were being run backwards, or like the last lines of Rilke’s Duino Elegies: “And we, who think of happiness / as rising, would feel the emotion / that nearly overwhelms us / when a happy thing falls.” (Luc Sante)

Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks - part 2

Wang Bing

Part II: Remnants focuses on the lives of a group of teens living with their parents in factory-provided housing in a blue collar neighborhood in the Tiexi district – an area known as ‘Rainbow Row’, which has been slated for destruction by local authorities. Filmed between 1999 and 2001, Remnants documents the everyday lives of these residents as they deal with the impending demolition of their neighborhood, and examines the mores and values, hopes and dreams, struggles and aspirations of the Chinese working class.


Mandarin with English subtitles