Release date:April 25, 2008
Starring:Jerry Bo Yu Chen, Campbell Ping He, Cindy Shui Yu
In China, it is simply known as 'The River.' But the Yangtze—and all of the life that surrounds it—is undergoing an astonishing transformation wrought by the largest hydroelectric project in history, the Three Gorges Dam. Chinese-Canadian director Yung Chang returns to the gorgeous, now-disappearing landscape of his grandfather’s youth to trace the surreal life of a “farewell cruise” that traverses the gargantuan waterway. With a humanist gaze and wry wit Chang’s Upstairs Downstairs approach captures the microcosmic society of the luxury liner. Below deck: a bewildered young girl trains as a dishwasher sent to work by her peasant family, who is on the verge of relocation from the encroaching floodwaters. Above deck: wealthy international tourists set sail to catch a last glance of a country in dramatic flux. The teenage employees who serve and entertain them—tagged with new Westernized names like “Cindy” and “Jerry” by upper management—warily grasp at the prospect of a better future. "Up the Yangtze" gives a human dimension to the wrenching changes facing not only an increasingly globalized China, but the world at large.