Sundance Review: Fallen City


Director:Zhao Qi


Running Time:90 Minutes


In 2008, the Sichuan earthquake destroyed the lives of many. Fallen City shows how a tragedy of epic proportions can both unite and divide, as seen through three families' stories. Their stories are heartbreaking as they try to find ways to rebuild. Too bad the film is a bit of a chore to get through.

Three stories: A young boy destroyed by the death of his father, a loving couple struggling through a long distance relationship, and a divorced woman trying to make it on her own. The stories are bleak, yet beautiful, showcasing both tragedy and triumph. Director Zhao Qi lets us see his subjects in good times and bad. They don't always make the best choices, but that only adds to their humanity. It's a fascinating subject in every way. And yet, the weight of the stories coupled with the long droning score drags the film to a halt early and often. Heavy movies can be worthwhile, but this one cannot sustain its own weight.


About Shayne Lechelt


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