Price: $350.00

    Code: 2468

    Directed by Xu Ruotao, J.P. Sniadecki, Huang Xiang
    2013, 65 minutes
    Purchase: $350 | Classroom rental: $125

    A collaboration between two Chinese artists, Xu Ruotao and Huang Xiang, and acclaimed American filmmaker J.P. Sniadecki, Yumen is a documentary-fiction hybrid that tells the story of a ghost town - Yumen, in China's western Gansu province - through a series of wandering characters and inventive vignettes. Produced with the support of Harvard's groundbreaking Sensory Ethnography Lab (People's Park, co-directed by Sniadecki, Leviathan, Sweetgrass and Manakamana).

    Filmed in and around a once-thriving, oil-rich town that has since been left depleted and derelict, Yumen is a haunting, fragmented tale of hungry souls, restless youth, a wandering artist, and a lonely woman, all searching for human connection and a collective past among the town's crumbling landscape.

    One part "ruin porn," one part ghost story, and shot entirely on 16mm, the film brings together narrative gesture, performance art, and socialist realism into a crude and radiant collage that not only plays with convention and defies genre, but also pays homage to a disappearing life-world and a fading medium.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    * Official Selection, Berlin International Film Festival
    * Winner, Special Jury Award, FICUNAM
    * Winner, Special Jury Award, Split Film Festival
    * Official Selection, Edinburgh Film Festival
    * Official Selection, Vancouver Film Festival
    * Official Selection, San Diego Asian Film Festival
    * Official Selection, Chinese Realities Series, MoMA
    * Best Asian Experimental Film, Taiwan International Documentary Festival, 2014
    * Best Chinese Film Award, Taiwan International Documentary Festival, 2014


    “Fusing documentary and staged scenes in a manner reminiscent of Godard from the 1970s onward, Yumen brings dignity and beauty to a place that lies in near ruins”- Artforum

    “When a film like this articulates its setting—that of its title, a once oil-rich beacon of production in the northwest Gansu province that has since been nearly abandoned—one realizes how few films understand how to create a vivid sense of place. More than simply pointing the camera at a locale, the filmmakers conjure the very soul of Yumen, this all-but-defunct, oil (ghost) town. The monstrous, pulsating rhythm of drilling, the contrastive contours of the landscape, and the lonely group of buildings contained therein. The sound design brings forth a new layer of varying ironies and heartbreak—the very fabric of a broken space.”- Mubi

    “A painful and nostalgic homage to a fading world and the medium which registered it.”- FICUNAM

    "Highly Recommended . This astonishing work will prove essential for academic libraries supporting film studies or visual anthropology programs, and Asian studies faculty may find it of interest." - Educational Media Reviews Online