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West of the Tracks, Part II: Remnants
(Tie Xi Qu)

Directed by Wang Bing.
China, 2003, digital video, color, 178 min.
Mandarin with English subtitles.

Shifting its focus to the vast shantytowns that emerged in the shadow of the factories, the second part of Wang’s trilogy offers a multi-generational portrait of a community faced with the sudden terrible certainty of its own demise. As the factories close, the always unseen and off-camera forces of the state abruptly begin to tear down the homes, giving only perfunctory notice to their inhabitants. As a barometer of the unsettling changes, Wang chooses a group of restlessly drifting adolescents whose band is gradually diminished, one-by-one, often times without saying goodbye to their friends. As winter sets in and the dust of the demolished houses mixes with snow a small group of townsfolk bands together to try and resist the cold and the destruction of their homes.

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