February 13, 2012

Happy Mon. +6 here in the flats and +25 on the slopes.

We watched an interesting documentary about the damming of the Yangtze River in China and the dislocation of about 2 million people, many of them dirt poor, by the rising water. The film centers on one family forced to move from a town about to be inundated who squat on a mountain slope for a time and then have to move again as the water rises. They move everything on foot. To help the family survive, they sign up their 14 year old daughter to work on a cruise ship catering to foreign tourists who travel the length of the Yangtze to see the new Three Gorges Dam and go through an enormous set of locks to continue down the river. The girl is drilled in how to speak English to the tourists and has her name changed from Yu Shui to Cindy. She works hard, is homesick, endures the embarrassment of having her two illiterate parents visit the ship and act unsophisticatedly. She sends most of her earnings to the family to help them get by but gradually raises her sights on what she can achieve in life. The family has three children, a cat, and several chickens, and the film shows them going about their daily work and home life in considerable detail.

The film also follows a 19 year old young man who is good looking, sings and dances, speaks pretty good English, and seems to have what it takes to succeed on the cruise ship. However, his cockiness and aggressive angling for tips eventually gets him fired. The film makers are Canadian and the documentary opens a view onto modern China that I have not seen before. 2007. From Netflix.

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