«City Dream» press conference report
On October 1, 2020, the press conference dedicated to the film «City Dream» by the Chinese director Weijun Chen took place. The picture is part of the 42nd Moscow International Film Festival’s Main Competition. The film’s producer Nianwen Dai participated in the press conference via online feed.
The film follows a series of conflicts and compromises between the urban administrators and an aging fruit vendor who takes advantage of public streets to do his business in Wuhan, the largest city in Central China. The bureau officers are firm in their duty to clean up the streets, but still show sympathy towards vendors being displaced. They meet their match in Wang Tiancheng, an elderly and cantankerous seller of fruits and clothing, who receives help from his adult son who lost a hand in a factory accident. The old man is brazenly defiant, like a swordless warrior against an army. He rips up the officers' paper citations, screams insults to their faces, and even throws punches. They take his abuse with surprising patience and humour. But their bosses are adamant to see the job get done.
«The film was shot in 2014-15 when urbanisation swept the country, and many people from villages and small towns took to metropolitan areas which in turn led to many issues in big cities during this explosive development. The film’s characters represent the new structure of administration; they control the situation in the city on behalf of the government. However, there were many controversies and problems in the administration itself. That’s why we wanted to show the problem that is relevant for China, from the point of view of those inspectors and the city locals, who initially came from the countryside,» the producer noted.
Outside in the streets, where the film takes us, there are small booths, the owners of which don’t pay any taxes, as well as big department stores, upheld by the city locals, who are used to paying taxes.
«Despite the fact that the film's characters moved to Wuhan many years ago, they aren't given the same conditions as the original residents. So the market vendors dream about staying in the city and not living in poverty, while the inspectors dream about working for the good of the country and solve the existing problems of the country. They have different dreams, but both go through hard times,» Nianwen Dai said.
He also noted that one can't define «City Dream» as comedy or tragicomedy.
«We just wanted to show the current situation and give our audience food for thought. Many viewers felt positive points in the film, some, to the contrary, sensed a tragic note,» the producer concluded.