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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Er shi si cheng ji')

Directed by Jia Zhang-ke
China / Hong Kong / Japan2008


A masterful film from Jia Zhang-ke, the renowned director of Still Life and The World, 24 City chronicles the dramatic closing of a once-prosperous state-owned aeronautics factory in Chengdu, a city in Southwest China, and its conversion into a sprawling luxury apartment complex. Bursting with poetry, pop songs and striking visual detail, the film weaves together unforgettable stories from three generations of workers – some real, some played by actors (including Joan Chen) – into a vivid portrait of the human struggle behind China’s economic miracle.


Theatrical Release: May 17th, 2008 - Cannes Film Festival

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DVD Review: Cinema Guild - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Cinema Guild - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:51:56 
Video 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.59 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Mandarin (Dolby Digital 5.1), Mandarin (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Subtitles English, None

Release Information:
Studio: Cinema Guild

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• Jia Zhang-ke Short: Cry Me A River (20:16)
• Scott Foundas interviews Jia Zhang-ke (45:30)
• Original Theatrical trailer (2:54)

DVD Release Date: January 12th, 2010

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Chapters: 14



This is an exceptional DVD from Cinema Guild. Shot with a Digital Camera but bumped to 35mm for theatrical this dual-layered, progressive and anamorphic transfer looks wonderful. It is tight, very sharp and extremely impressive (as is the film). It is one of the better SD-DVD transfer efforts I have seen. Good news again that I don't see any manipulation and the image is pristinely clean. It looks quite flawless.

Audio comes in two flavors - both competent. The mostly dialogue-driven film doesn't offer a lot of separation or any effect noises so the 5.1 option is largely unnecessary. Dialogue is always clear and the optional English subtitles seem well rendered.

There are some good extras as well. The 20-minute short 'Cry Me A River' (Heshang aiqing) directed by Jia Zhang-ke has optional English subtitles and premiered at the 65th Venice Film Festival in 2008. Scott Foundas of the L.A. Weekly has a good interview with Jia Zhang-ke for more than 3/4s of an hour with a translator. It appears to have been conducted at the Lincoln Center during the 2008 NY Film Festival. We are also given the film's original theatrical trailer running just shy of 3-minutes.

Bordering on an essential DVD release - this has one of our strongest recommendations. Fans of the director shouldn't hesitate a moment. Great job Cinema Guild! 

Gary W. Tooze


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Distribution Cinema Guild - Region 1 - NTSC

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