Synopsis by Ryan Shriver
Filmmaker Wang Bing spent three years charting the decline and decay of one of China's major industrial regions in his over nine-hour, three-part documentary Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks. From 1999 to 2001, Wang traveled via freight train through the northeast district of Tie Xi. Beginning with the four-hour first section entitled Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks -- Part One: Rust, the director visits three important factories in Tie Xi that are all on the verge of closure -- a development sure to accelerate the region's economic downturn. In the nearly three-hour second section, Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks -- Part Two: Remnants, Wang visits a rundown governmental housing community that is also on the slate for demolition, leaving the inhabitants without shelter as well as unemployed. Completing his series is the final section, Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks -- Part Three: Rails, that follows some of the people that make their earnings by bumming around and on the rail lines. With the downturn of the economy, which in turn decreases the rail traffic, these scavengers are also falling into desperate times that force difficult choices to be made. The entirety of Tie Xi Que was screened at the 2003 Rotterdam International Film Festival and the 2003 Toronto International Film Festival. During its festival run, this film played in an English-subtitled version.
bankruptcy, China, community, decay, decline, factory-town, foundry, industry, observations, poverty, steel-mill, struggle, unemployment, urban-problems, working-class