Film Series / Events

Search All Film Series (1999-present)
Browse All Film Series

May 4

Demolition by J.P. Sniadecki

J.P. Sniadecki is a young nonfiction filmmaker completing his doctorate degree in Harvard’s Social Anthropology department whose films shot in China have already drawn international attention. Most notably, his hour-long documentary Demolition was included in last year’s Viennale and just won the Joris Ivens Award at Paris’ prestigious documentary film festival Cinéma du réel.

Special Event Tickets $10
Monday May 4 at 7pm

Demolition (Chaiqian)

Directed by J.P. Sniadecki, Appearing in Person
US 2008, video, color, 62 min. Mandarin and Sichuanese with English subtitles

Chaiqian focuses primarily upon a vast demolition site in the center of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province in western China, a bustling site emblematic of the many urban centers in China undergoing rapid and radical transformation. A remarkable combination of rigorous, structured aesthetics—making especially notable use of the long take—and a richly human look at migrant labor and social dynamics in flux,  Chaiqian follows the site’s laborers at work and rest, occasionally overhearing the workers speak to each other about being filmed and joking with the “man from Harvard” behind the camera. Eventually the film branches out to follow a group of men who wander off to discover the city by night.


Directed by J.P. Sniadecki, Appearing in Person
US 2007, video, color, 29 min. Mandarin with English subtitles

The Songhua River runs through Harbin in northeastern China and serves as the city's main water source. By attending to the everyday activities of leisure and labor unfolding along the banks and promenade, Songhua depicts the intimate and complex relationship between Harbin city residents and their “mother river.” Sniadecki’s extended long takes observe everyday behavior balanced between tradition and a rapidly changing present, even as the film itself, with its balance of carefully composed shots and handheld footage, explores the interface between art and ethnography.

audio from evening Listen to this evening's introduction, discussion and Q&A.

Browse Other Series from this Season
Return to Top
Harvard Film Archive • Carpenter Center • 24 Quincy Street • Cambridge MA 02138 • 617-495-4700