River People

  • 88'
  • China
  • 2008
He Jianjun, who made an impression in Rotterdam in the early 1990s as one of the leaders of the ‘sixth generation’ with films like Red Beads and Postman, follows fishermen on the banks of the Yellow River in the Shanxi Province. His love for his subject is, as always, visible in every scene. Partly in documentary form, partly as fiction, River People shows traditional life as it passes the generations, calm and irreversible as the river itself, apparently unaffected by economic changes in the city. People live without medical care, social provisions, without tax.
It's about the cousins and best friends Baowa and Laba (who sometimes tell the story). An old uncle, who taught everyone the craft, is afraid of the outside world because so many relatives have been so unfortunate there. He doesn't want to think about leaving and has forbidden Baowa, the only one to go to school, ever to mention it. But for the young man, a boat looks like a coffin. In the evening, the boats moor, the generators are started and everyone watches a DVD. In the winter, the boats are laid up on the riverbank. When Laba's parents buy a bigger boat, the brothers are faced with an inevitable choice. River People is the story of people who are happy with their lives, but slowly see the modern era creep in. He Jianjun records it majestically. (GT)

Director
He Jianjun
Premiere
European premiere
Country of production
China
Production Year
2008
Festival Edition
IFFR 2009
Length
88'
Medium
Betacam SP PAL
Original title
Shui shang ren jia
Language
Mandarin
Producer
Shan Dongbing
Production Company
Beijing Jingle Culture Development Co.,Ltd.
Sales
Beijing Jingle Culture Development Co.,Ltd.
Screenplay
He Jianjun
Cinematography
Guo Zhirong
Editor
Qi Ziyi
Production Design
Ma Ke
Sound Design
Liu Shenshen, Tao Junjie
Music
Zhang Yi
Cast
Shan Jingtao, Shan Jingqin
Local Distributor
Hubert Bals Fund