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King's College London, Lucas Theatre

King's College London, Lucas Theatre

Lucas Theatre S-2.18

London

WC2R 2LS

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500m 800m

DIR. Yao Tian

FICTION

China, 2016

IN Mandarin WITH English SUBTITLES

83 MINS

UK PREMIER

Writer director Yao Tian’s 500m 800m offers a very humanistic take on the subject of

China’s restrictive one child policy, which finally ended in January 2016. Set in 1997, the film’s title refers to a law which at the time meant that people living 800 metres above sea level were permitted to have two children, while those living between 500-800m could have two if the eldest child was a girl, and those living 500m above sea level could only have one. Against this backdrop, the film follows the pregnant Hong Fen, who lives with her family in a rural area near the Three Gorges Dam project. When the dam construction results in the local residents being relocated to 500m above sea level, which initially pleases Hong Fen, who believes that it will allow her eight-year-old daughter to finally be officially registered and go to school. Things don’t work out as planned, and the family’s life becomes more complicated, pushing her to make a momentous decision.

Shot in a naturalistic style that recalls the early films of Jia Zhangke, 500m 800m combines stunning scenery with a searching, tragic story that throws light ways in which oppressive laws impact everyday people. Yao Tian bravely tackles a range of issues, from the one child policy through to forced relocation and the environmental impact of the Three Gorges Dam, though never loses sight of the humble humanity of his characters. The result is a film which is both moving and thoughtful, and a vital look back at a policy which for years shaped modern China.

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King's College London, Lucas Theatre

King's College London, Lucas Theatre

Lucas Theatre S-2.18

London

WC2R 2LS

United Kingdom

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