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China Screen : The Yangtze River’s Green Sailors

Year: 2011, 52 mins
Code: IC-CSSailor

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Descending from a long line of fishermen on the river Yangtze, Liu Gujun, as thousands of other farmers and fishermen of the region, had to redefine his professional activity when the construction of the famous Three Gorges Dam began. His father had even to stop fishing because of the growing river pollution and asked his son to start cleaning the river. In the Chinese tradition of respect for the elder, he took the last wishes of his father very seriously, in particular since the floating waste, held by the dam, was growing on a daily basis, polluting the banks of the gigantic town of Chongqing.

Ever since, Liu Gujun puts all his energy into this mission and invests every penny of his personal money into the ambitious venture. For lack of sufficient grants from the government, he even contracts heavy loans to build up a small flotilla of cleaning boats. He also employs people to collect every day, with the help of little ladles (!) the tons of garbage accumulating on the surface of the river. The task is so unrewarding that it becomes difficult for him to find laborers who accept these working conditions.

By observing the daily lives of some of these "green sailors" on their small vessels, we shall be privileged to witness their unsafe struggle. Besides the increasing difficulty of their task due to the continuous rising level of the river, we’ll stay with them as they perform their daily rituals of eating and sleeping on the very vessel on which they collect the waste during the day. If before the construction of the dam, nobody had anticipated this floating waste problem, today, nobody can continue to ignore the evidence of the ecological disaster …

Available languages : English, French

Writer: CHEN Fu et SHENG Shiping
Director: CHEN Fu et SHENG Shiping
Chef opérateur: CHEN Fu, SHENG Shiping
Monteur: Axelle SCHATZ

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