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24 City(二十四城记)

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

China, Hong Kong, Japan · 2008
1h 52m
Director Jia Zhangke
Starring Joan Chen, Lü Liping, Zhao Tao, Chen Jianbin
Genre Drama

Three generations reflect on the history of state-owned factory 420 before it is closed and demolished to make way for luxury apartments. Jia Zhangke blends scripted drama and documentary in this nontraditional narrative inspired by real events and real people.

Stream 24 City

What are people saying?

Meagen Tajalle Profile picture for Meagen Tajalle

24 City approaches loss and the passage of time with patient sensitivity. In the film, one woman describes her faith in her own work ethic and her imagination of the 24 City factory seems to represent a mythical narrative similar to the American Dream in its recognition of the possibility of upward mobility. The film doesn’t seem to have the same faith, though, in this narrative; the film places its faith in people.

What are critics saying?


Variety by Derek Elley

Result is far more accessible than Jia's previous two pictures, with moments of genuine emotion by the real-life interviewees.


Village Voice by J. Hoberman

Jia Zhangke is one of the world's preeminent filmmakers, an essentially contemplative director whose considerable talent is further amplified by the significance of his material--namely, everyday life in the most dynamic economy on earth.


Wall Street Journal by Joe Morgenstern

The new film, shot in vivid hi-def video, is part documentary and part fiction based on interviews; it uses on-camera interviews with workers, some played by themselves and some played by actors, to evoke a past of unimaginable toil, and suffering, in the service of the Communist state.


The New York Times by Manohla Dargis

The actors in 24 City bring their own existential realities to their short, touching performances. In the end, the deep emotions they stir up -- the actress Lv Liping delivers a harrowing story about a lost child -- constitute another kind of monument to the workers of Factory 420.


The A.V. Club by Scott Tobias

Mostly, 24 City falls into the same Jia trap of inadvertently drawing the viewers' gaze past his human subjects and to the poetic images of a country in painful metamorphosis.


New York Post by V.A. Musetto

The result is surprisingly engrossing -- even lively, due in part to brief musical numbers inserted amid the interviews.

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