© Antony Gormley's Waste Man commissioned by Artangel for Penny Woolcock's feature film Exodus
Director: Guo XiZhi (China)
Run time: 94'
Location/Ethnic group: Tongling, Anhui
Language: In Chinese with English subtitles
Production/Distribution: Beijing Channel Zero Media & Production Co., GXZ Film
Datong is a 2000-year old town on the banks of the Yangtze river. Because the government intends to reconstruct the town, the inhabitants of Herui Old Street have to migrate and their houses will be pulled down. To the townspeople, there are ample reasons to oppose migration, not only because they don't have enough money to build new houses, but also because they cherish the resplendent past of the Old Street. To the local officials, migration and reconstruction is an irreversible stipulation. The film depicts the seesaw battle between the government and the civilian population. It is a record of how the townspeople strive for their own rights for over a year.
Guo Xizhi grew up in Datong, the location of Town in Migration, which is in Tongling, Anhui Province. In the 1980s, he studied Literary Aesthetics at East China Normal University in Shanghai, taking an optional course in film-making. After graduating in 1990, he worked at Tongling Television for ten years before moving to Shenzhen and taking up a post at Shenzhen Television, whilst at the same time being an active participant in the local independent film-makers' group. Town in Migration is one of a number of films that he made over a ten-year period in Tongling (Ferry, Back to Nowhere), chronicling the effect of the arrival of the 'new China' on three particular families. At the time of its release, it was hailed as an example of the 'new documentary' in China, partly on account of its observational style, but partly because it dared to show the resistance of local people to the State with what was then unusual boldness