Films of the decade: "Up the Yangtze"

The director of "Food, Inc." on Yung Chang's lovely doc about the transformation of China's legendary river

Published December 28, 2009 12:28PM (EST)

A still from "Up the Yangtze"
A still from "Up the Yangtze"

A few of my favorite films of the 2000s are "Precious," "Sin Nombre," "City of God" and "Maria Full of Grace." All of these films took me to worlds I knew little about. And in each of these films, I felt the hand of a director guiding the experience.

I also loved "Michael Clayton," a wonderful thriller that exposes the greed and short-sightedness of a giant agrochemical firm. It certainly fed my paranoia while making "Food, Inc."

On the documentary front, I loved a film by the Chinese-Canadian director Yung Chang called "Up the Yangtze." It is the story of a valley in China being flooded to create a dam. I wasn't sure if I was watching actors or real people. It turned out to be all real people who felt very comfortable letting the camera into their lives. It had a very theatrical feel. It is a beautiful film.

By Robert Kenner

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