Plastic China


Film Info
Director:Jiu-liang Wang
Year of Production:2016
Topic:Environmental Health
Zero Waste
In Mandarin with English subtitles
Running Time:82 min.


Director Jiu-liang Wang captures the striking, melancholic beauty of a vast and lifeless artificial landscape—a Chinese countryside covered almost entirely in imported plastic. Men and women build lives upon this waste, and children learn about the outside world through tattered western advertisements and tabloid images. Yet even within such a profoundly isolating and toxic atmosphere, hope and humanity find their way into the defiantly optimistic 11-year-old Yi-Jie. When she’s not building forts beneath massive plastic mounds, or constructing fake computers from magazine cutouts, Yi-Jie dreams of eating real fruits and raising healthy animals, as well as attending school and befriending kids her own age. Her father, an alcoholic, can’t afford to pay for her education. But she finds a kindred spirit in the young and optimistic Kun, the local recycling facility owner, who dreams, like she does, of one day escaping the plastic countryside and finding a better life. Whether they can break free or must simply make do with their harsh manufactured environment becomes the central tension within Wang’s poignant, exquisitely realized film. – Sundance Film Festival

- Special Jury Award, IDFA 2016

Community Partners: 5 Gyres; CAAM; GAIA (Global Alliance fo Incinerator Alternatives); The Story of Stuff


Included Shorts

The Diver (El Buzo) (15min) More

Additional Information

Jiu Liang WangJiu-liang Wang is director of award-winning and impactful documentary film Beijing Besieged by Waste (2011). He graduated from Communication University of China, School of Cinematic Arts in 2007. From 2007 to 2008, he finished a set of photography work about Chinese traditional superstitions. He started investigating the landfill pollution around Beijing in 2008. In 2011, he finished Beijing Besieged by Waste, a set of photography work and a documentary with the same name. Since 2012, he has been working on the documentary Plastic China.