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“A Quiet Marvel:” Chicago Critics on <i>Ghost Town</i> – Now Playing!

Ghost Town (dir. Zhao Dayong)

As part of its national tour, Zhao Dayong’s acclaimed documentary Ghost Town is screening for a week in Chicago, from April 9-15 at Facets Cinematheque. Chicago critics are already showering unanimous praise upon the film. Some excerpts:

“Fine, go ahead and film!” hollers a resident of Zhiziluo. “But there’s nothing worth filming here.” Zhao Dayong offers a differing view in “Ghost Town…” This skilled filmmaker finds much to contemplate in the long abandoned, largely depopulated Chinese town.

Bill Stamets, The Chicago Sun-Times

A quiet marvel, Zhao Dayong’s second feature-length picture is no less an indelible portrait of a place, and its people, as Terence Davies’ “Of Time and the City” and Jia Zhangke’s “Still Life” or “24 City.”

Michael Phillips, The Chicago Tribune

Directed by Zhao Dayong, this 2008 documentary presents Zhizilou, a small town in Yunan province, as evidence that the Chinese economic miracle has eroded once-thriving rural cultures by drawing villagers to large cities… The lush mountain scenery contrasts vividly with the crumbling town, but the biggest impact comes from the astonishing candor of the residents.

Andrea Gronvall, The Chicago Reader

Shot without government permission in a remote part of China, Ghost Town is about as handmade as filmmaking comes… Zhao finds unlikely poetry in his story, seemingly one of utter hopelessness, and uses it to bring this epic portrait full circle.

Ben Kenigsberg, Time Out Chicago

Director-editor-cinematographer Zhao Dayong’s astonishingly gorgeous, achingly sorrowful three-part independent documentary, “Ghost Town” (2008), captures the life and survival of Zhiziluo, a village in remote Southwest China. His work resembles that of his countryman Zhangke Jia and other filmmakers of the current generation working on high-definition video (a format less restricted by the Chinese government than 35mm features intended for theatrical exhibition), all demonstrating by witness, “What is now? What is China? What is the future?” All find the lyric in the mundane: So many stories, so many vistas of physical beauty and dusty ruin… “Ghost Town” is profound in portraying the particulars of generations of villagers and profoundly sad as well.

Ray Pride, New City Film

Tickets can be purchased at:

Facets Cinematheque 1517 Fullerton Avenue Chicago, IL 60614

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