“Overwhelming Impact”: Review of <i>Beijing Besieged by Waste</i>
The verbal information provided in Wang Jiuliang’s documentary, Beijing Besieged by Waste, is staggering: Beijing, with a population of twenty million, is surrounded by hundreds of 50-meter high garbage mountains and landfills… While these are the main informative details provided in the film, it is the force of the film’s images that produces its overwhelming impact. A new environment – the images show – has ben formed around the modernized city of Beijing. In this environment there is no ground; it is a new kind of multilayered landscape, a garbagescape, the product of daily life in a megalopolis and the working-and-living environment for tens of thousands of people… A powerful visual document, this film not only informs us of the state of waste in Beijing, it makes it clear that when garbage disappears from our sight, it does not go away. Wang’s film brings this garbage back in view. There is no nation or culture on earth that can allow itself to continue ignoring this message.