Falling from the Sky 天降 (2009)
Directed by Zhang Zanbo 张赞波
124 min. Mandarin Chinese with English subtitles.
On the occasion of Jin Shan's exhibition My dad is Li Gang! 我爸是李刚!, the David Winton Bell Gallery will host a special screening of Chinese documentary filmmaker Zhang Zanbo's "Falling from the Sky" (2009). The screening will be introduced by Prof. Joshua Neves of Brown University's Department of Modern Culture and Media and followed by a question and answer session with Prof. Neves and gallery curator Ian Alden Russell.
Little-known Suining county lies directly in the path of falling debris from the Xichang Satellite Launching Base, one of three satellite launching bases in China. Ten times in the last 20 years, the county has been visited by dangerous “aliens from the skies”: falling satellite debris that smashes into the tranquil lives of the 160,000 impoverished local inhabitants. In China, 2008 was both “the year of the Olympics” and “the year of space exploration.” While the people of Suining, like their fellow countrymen and women, eagerly awaited the Olympic Games, their pride about Chinese development, particularly in terms of space exploration, was tempered by the fact that they had to endure falling wreckage from constant satellite launches.
The film Falling From the Sky aims to represent the life under the strong will of nation in a magical and realistic area of Suining and wishes to raise awareness to our homeland and subsistence with the concern of individual life under the will of the nation. The title Falling from the Sky not only refers to the debris; it is an allusion to fate, something befalling of these people. Moreover, its meaning can be extended to point to a kind of heavenly destiny looming over their heads, hinting not only to the physical sky, but also the ancient Chinese concept of the “mandate of heaven”, the will of the nation. Thus, the expression of the film about remote Suining is somehow much closer to a real China rather than the splendid Olympics and Shenzhou 7 spaceship in 2008.
About Zhang Zanbo
Independent documentary filmmaker Zhang Zanbo was born in the 1970s, and earned his master’s degree in film directing from the Beijing Film Academy in 2005. His films have been screened at many international film festivals in China and abroad.
- Falling From the Sky (2009)
- A Song of Love, Maybe (2010)
- The Interceptor from My Hometown（2011）
- My grandfather's address in Taipei (2010)
- Red White and Blue（2011）
- What We Talk About When We Talk About Sex（2011）
- Disappear in the green grass, dried grass and duckweed（2011）
- Righteous Flame（2011）