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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)

The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.