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Dreams of Changjiang

Director, Photography, Editing, Producer: Feng Yan
Source: Feng Yan
Dai 2 Yamano-haitsu #503, 2-10-6 Sumida,
Higashiosaka-shi, Osaka 578-0912 JAPAN
Phone & Fax: 81-729-64-4084
CHINA / 1997 / Chinese / Video / 85 min

Feng Yan

Born in Tientsin in 1962. Came to Japan to study economics at Kyoto University in 1988. Began making documentaries with a compact video camera about the problems of poverty and education in rural China in 1994. Her works include I Want to Go to School, Runaway people and Village Submerged by Dam. Dreams of Changjiang is Feng's first feature-length documentary.


The planned construction of the Three Gorges Dam will relocate more than a million villagers to new destinations. Dreams of Changjiang follows the reactions of several families who must decide on how to deal with the change. The filmmaker succeeds in expressing the tenacity and vitality of the Chinese people in the face of an overwhelming fate.

Director's Statement

From the summer of 1994 to the end of 1996 I lived with farmers on the Changjiang banks whose two villages were about to be submerged by the construction of the world's largest dam. With a compact camera I documented their lives and the various events caused by the evacuation.

The 85 minute long Dreams of Changjiang was compiled from over 100 hours of footage I shot during that time. Since it was my first feature-length documentary, it took many months of consideration and editing to finish but I look back at it as a wonderful experience. I worked with, ate meals with, slept under the same roof and became friends with, the people who appeared in this film. By chance all of my protagonists are proud, strong, independent, and women. The move brought about large changes in their lives and though it set them back, they continued to live vigorously and resolutely even as they followed their fate. They exemplify the figure of the present day Chinese farmer. I learned a lot from my encounter with the villagers and feel emboldened to show this film in Yamagata in hopes that it may help even one more person to sympathize with the way of life of the farmer.


Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Organizing Committee