The Road

The Road

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For three decades the world has witnessed China’s fast economic development. In 2009 the Chinese government began to implement a 586 billion US dollars plan as an attempt to minimize the impact of the global financial crisis on the world's second largest economy. The plan was to invest in infrastructure and social welfare throughout China. Some scholars have called the plan the Second Great Leap Forward referring to Chairman Mao’s disastrous plan in the 1940s that cost millions of lives. It was an absurd period where all citizens were mobilized to refine metal. The Chinese director Zhang Zanbo managed in 2010 to get unique and unprecedented access to the implementation of the financial plan. For more than three years the director filmed the making of a section of a highway through a quiet village in Hunan, a province in central China. This is the province where Chairman Mao was born. The main character throughout the film is Mr. Meng, the vice president of a private construction company responsible for the construction of a part of the highway system. He appears whenever there is an argument or a fight. In China, a great number of people are working for “stabilization”, and Mr. Meng is leading such a position in the construction company. Zhang Zanbo has filmed the management team as well as the local residents and the workers. The film follows local villagers and peasants that are forced to move due to land acquisition. Temples are moved and migrant workers experience lack of safety under very difficult working conditions. Most of the workers on the construction site are migrant Chinese workers that travel around the country to make a living. The management of the construction company has been strongly supported by the Communist Party and the local authorities, but they want their share of the financial apple. As a consequence corruption and violence has become a common part of the making of the road.
Starring Mr. Meng, Grandma Ou, Mr. Long
Director Zhang Zanbo

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