Behemoth

  • Directed by Zhao Liang
  • China, 2015, 90 mins., 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)