Weaving

1 x 95’

A story about demolition, family struggles and dramatic social changes in China.
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Synopsis

In 2016, the last textile weaving factory from the communist era in North-West China was demolished and its worker village of thousands was displaced. Weaving follows two textile worker families during the five year demolition process as they struggle to adapt to outside change while keeping their families intact.

As the eviction date draws near, the residents negotiate compensation, deal with bureaucracy, and try to ensure adequate living space for the extended family in their replacement homes. But grown-ups revert to being children in the presence of their parents and the looming move ignites old sibling rivalries and exposes the preferential treatment sons receive over daughters.

Where old and new social values collide, their stories allow us to take a closer look inside China’s changing dynamic in an increasingly materialistic and complex society.

Trailer


Program Info

Title Weaving 纺织城
Duration 95 min. 95分
Location Xi'an, China 中国 西安市
Language Chinese + English subtitle 中国語版/英語版(英語字幕)
Production Format video, color
Genre Human Interest / Social Issues ヒューマン・ドキュメンタリー / 社会問題
Director Wang Yang 王杨
Producer Chris Huang 黄 嘉清
Executive Producer Wang Yang 王杨
Co-producer Ben Tsiang for CNEX 蔣 顯斌
Production RISING PRODUCTIONS
Production Year 2017 2017年
Awards
  • Sundance 2013 Documentary Fund
  • International Documentary Festival Amsterdam 2013 Bertha Fund
  • Busan International Film Festival 2014 Taskovski Films Asian Talent Fund
  • Busan International Film Festival 2014 Busan Bank Fund
  • HotDocs Canadian International Documentary Festival 2017 Official Selection
Copyright ©Rising Productions / CNEX
Rights Worldwide

Treatment

Weaving PosterWEAVING is an intimate study of family values during modern China's rapid social and economic shift. The film takes place in an old Soviet-style, factory district, a once-thriving symbol of the planned economy era, but now a degraded industrial area in the modern city of Xi'an. A massive demolition of the factory and accompanying worker's village is about to dramatically change the lives of thousands.
XIANG (77) is a retired textile worker, the matriarch of her family and unofficial ""mayor"" of the worker's village. As the planned demolition of their home edges closer, Xiang must negotiate housing compensation with outsourced contractors to make sure there is adequate living space for she and her husband, her children and grandchildren when they are relocated.
Xiang's youngest daughter, YING (36) is a single mother with health issues so she hopes to prioritize her needs but her daughter-in-law HONGYAN (35) opposes this favoritism and fights to gain the best of Xiang's relocation housing for herself and her young daughter YAOYAO (8) who represents the future of their family. This puts Xiang in a tough spot, trying to provide explanations to the villagers while managing her family's in-fighting and trying to make the wisest decision amid dire circumstances and endless bureaucracy.
In the village nearby, ZHANG (80), long ago the top mechanic at the factory, now lives with his wife YANG (74) who has a broken leg and Alzheimer's disease. Most of Zhang's five children live too far away to help and the former dysfunction of the family has kept them away. A few grudgingly take turns cooking for the parents and as the demolition gets closer, the family is forced to decide how to care for them moving forward. Could the oncoming destruction be the unlikely bridge for them to rebuild their relationship?
As the old factory and its accompanying village is systematically razed to the ground, everyone's life changes. WEAVING captures the individual experiences and goes below the surface to expose the effects on real people during China's relentless pursuit of economic prosperity.

Director's Statement

I grew up in a similar blue-collar family at the weaving district. My memory of the old commune is filled with cheerful family gathering, and children playing near these immense architectures. Although the place is now in decay, with uneven pavements, narrow roads and damp interiors, years of livelihood have preserved a sense of warmth and humility, making it a rather peaceful place to live, away from all the craze in the city.
Today, the city of Xi'an is filled with high-rise buildings, shopping malls, and expanding tech zones; old traces of life are quickly disappearing. The notice of a massive demolition in the weaving district came to me as a shock first; realising the childhood home I once knew will be forever changed, I started filming this process. I began as a way to preserve its image but overtime I began to see the changes within.
Despite China's stunning growth as the world's 2nd largest economy, traditional family value is still deeply rooted inside individual's psyche and society as a whole. Both the Xiang and Zhang families are struggling to maintain their old value, as everything they knew and believed simply do not equip them to deal with the new social circumstances.
On the surface, this re-development plan seems like an opportunity to improve people’s living environment. But what I didnʼt expect was the complexity in negotiating compensation with the government, as well as the emotional scars left in the family afterwards.
As a filmmaker I was quickly and deeply drawn to the people going through this experience. Because their stories not only reflect the experience of individual in a fast changing world, but also shares the universal value of family, humility and dignity.

About the Weaving factory

The factory district is located on the outskirt of Xi'an; it is 10 kilometres east of the city centre and covers an area of 25 square kilometres. This project was developed in 1949, as one of the key projects in the primary developing stage of industrial socialism. With the help of experts from the Soviet Union, it soon had become the largest as well as the most concentrated textile base in Northwest China, given the name “Weaving City”.
The factories witnessed the uprising of Chinaʼs textile industry and made a significant contribution to the local economy. The once advanced manufacturing techniques and the Soviet style architectures have also became a cultural legacy in China’s industrial development.
The factories prospered in the backdrop of the collective economy, and the factory workers were the vital part of building a new society. However as China entered the stage of market economy in the late 70s, times turned its back on the old factory district. This state run enterprise had gradually fallen far behind due to changing policy, outdated technology and overproduction. By the end of 90s, the district had almost become the poorest part of the city.
The Weaving city is deemed as a microcosm of China’s contemporary history, from its dream of a socialist utopia to the gold rush of capitalism. The location serves as a channel for us to better understand the life of individuals of present, and hints of China’s future.

Director: WANG YANG

WANG YANGWANG YANG filmmaker is a social/political documentary from Xi’an, China. He had directed three independent feature documentaries focusing on China's social changes through the eyes of the younger generation. His previous documentary “China Gate” (2011) was selected in Film Festivals such as Leipzig, DMZ, and Zagreb Dox.

Producer: Chris HUANG

CHRIS HUANGBorn in Xi’an, China, CHRIS HUANG has started working in documentary since 2010. He began working as an editor on “China Gate”, and followed onto produce “Weaving” in 2011. He is currently based in Tokyo and works as a versioning director for "Inside Lens" - a documentary slot on NHK WORLD.

Co-producer: Ben TSIANG

Ben TSIANGBen TSIANG is the CEO and co-founder of CNEX Foundation Limited. Established in 2007, CNEX is a social enterprise for innovative documentary making and promotion in Chinese society. TSIANG has produced multiple award wining documentaries including "The Chinese Mayor", "The Road to Fame", "Bazaar Jumpers" and "1428".

Staff

Story Writer He Qunshe 贺 群社
Cinematography Xue Ming 薛 明
Sound Recordist Zhao Siquan 赵 司泉
Music by David Braid -
Editor Chris Huang 黄 嘉清
Color Grading David Jimenez -
Sound Designer Li Danfeng 李 丹枫
Poster Design Chai Xi / Tuo Feng 柴 曦 / 拓 峰

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