Songhua

Direction
Year
2007
Country
  • China
  • United States
Duration
28min
Audio Tracks
Subtitles

In northeastern China the Songhua River flows west from the border of Russia to the city of Harbin, where four million people depend on it as a source of water. Songhua is a portrait of the varying people that gather where the river meets the city, and an ethnographic study of the intimate ways in which they play and work.

Through a series of interchanging and overlapping vignettes, filmmaker J.P. Sniadecki presents a full range of the river's value: from couples who fly kites or play cards by its shoreline, to fishermen who drag nets through its waters, to a vendor who relies on its attraction as a popular destination to sell his pinwheels. The river is a place containing multitudes, where a woman cleans up every single piece of trash along the bank, and a boy plays in the sand and drinks from a stagnant river pool littered with debris.

Filmed only one year after a major chemical spill (one of the largest river spills in recent years), Songhua is at once a tender record of interactions with the natural waterway, and a subtle, but dark consideration of the societal and environmental implications of the river's condition.

Details

  • Original title
    Songhua
  • Direction
  • Screenplay
    J. P. Sniadecki
  • Dir. of Photo.
    J. P. Sniadecki
  • Editing
    J. P. Sniadecki
  • Duration
    28 min (16-30 min.)
  • Year
    2007
  • Country
    • China
    • United States
  • Colour
    • Colour
  • Production
  • Distribution
  • Festivals
    • Whitney Bienniale, 2014
    • Eyes & Lenses Ethnographic Film Festival, 2008
    • VIENNALE (Vienna International Film Festival), 2008
    • Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, 2015

Comments

Doc Alliance Members

Doc Alliance is a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.