Encore 3: Plastic China


At a recycling center in the Chinese countryside, two families survive between seas of plastic bottles and wrappers shipped from the United States and other countries. Processing this waste has become their burden, and yet for their children, they dream of a better life. Eleven-year-old Yi-Jie’s parents work long hours sorting through the remnants, leaving her to watch her younger siblings. When the owner of the center, Kun, decides it’s time for his son to go to school, he encourages Yi-Jie’s parents to follow suit. Tensions rise, with the families at odds about how to balance their work lives and care for their children. Through close and careful camerawork, director Jiu-liang Wang portrays the conflict, saying much without words. Plastic China documents with sensitivity the stark realities of both this astounding setting and those charged with managing the fallout of modern excess. ST

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