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Directed by Zhao Liang

China 2015 90 mins. In Cantonese

You can’t un-see political documentarian Liang’s cinematic allegory, which draws inspiration from The Divine Comedy in fashioning a simultaneously intoxicating and terrifying glimpse at the ravages wrought upon Inner Mongolia by its coal and iron industries. A poetic voiceover speaks of the insatiability of desire, overarching stunning images of decimated landscapes, spectacular machines, and people (and the toll of their labor). A wholly absorbing guided tour of exploding hillsides, mine shafts, frightening factories, and vacant cities, Behemoth combines exposé with a painterly vision of a social and ecological nightmare otherwise unfolding out of sight.

Reviews: Film Comment, Little White Lies, Sight & Sound, The New Yorker (last review)

Interviews: Interview with Zhao Liang at Film Comment


Filmography: Together (2010), Petition (2009), Crime and Punishment (2007), Paper Airplanes (2001)