A Disappearance Foretold

A film about a popular neighbourhood in Beijing, and what happened there in relation to the 2008 Olympic Games. Qianmen is a popular neighbourhood in the very heart of Beijing, just south of the Tiananmen Square. In the perspective of the 2008 Olympic Games, the city decided that the six hundred years old neighbourhood has to be “rehabilitated”. It is now in the line of fire of the promoters, and the 80000 people living there are facing drastic (and dramatic) changes. The film follows the rapidly changing life in the neighbourhood for more than a year and a half, from one reality to another, completely different one. Little by little, fragment per fragment; the film is drawing a portrait of a neighbourhood, recording memory of a soon disappearing reality. A story of China today.

Olivier Meys is Belgian, born in 1974, and educated as a film director from Institut des Arts de Diffusion in Brüssel. He has also worked for radio and done several documentaries. In 2004 he moved to Beijing, where he continued to work with documentaries, both on film and for the radio.

Zhang Yaxuan has a degree in Arts from the Beijing Normal University, and is an active promoter for Chinese independent and underground filmart. She also works as a curator, a critic and has published several books. She is the director of CIFA, the Chinese Independent Film Archive. For this documentary she together with Meys received the International Prize of the Scam at Festival Cinéma du Reel in 2008.