Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 17 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 13 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Summary: In China, it is simply known as 'The River.' But the Yangtze—and all of the life that surrounds it—is undergoing an astonishing transformation wrought by the largest hydroelectric project in history, the Three Gorges Dam. Chinese-Canadian director Yung Chang returns to the gorgeous, now-disappearing landscape of his grandfather’s youth to trace the surreal life of a “farewell cruise” that traverses the gargantuan waterway. With a humanist gaze and wry wit Chang’s Upstairs Downstairs approach captures the microcosmic society of the luxury liner. Below deck: a bewildered young girl trains as a dishwasher sent to work by her peasant family, who is on the verge of relocation from the encroaching floodwaters. Above deck: wealthy international tourists set sail to catch a last glance of a country in dramatic flux. The teenage employees who serve and entertain them—tagged with new Westernized names like “Cindy” and “Jerry” by upper management—warily grasp at the prospect of a better future. "Up the Yangtze" gives a human dimension to the wrenching changes facing not only an increasingly globalized China, but the world at large. (Zeitgeist Films) Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 17
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 17
  3. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Reviewed by: G. Allen Johnson
    100
    Remarkable.
  2. An astonishing documentary of culture clash and the erasure of history amid China’s economic miracle.
  3. Filmmaker Yung Chang finds a sad and beautiful way to glimpse the big picture of dislocation through an exquisitely poised small study.
  4. Trained in Sanford Meisner's acting techniques, the director wrests surprisingly emotional disclosures from his subjects.
  5. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    80
    By journey's end, Yung has found, in the Yangtze, a brilliant natural metaphor for upward mobility in modern China: Whether they hail from the lowlands or the urban centers, everyone here is scrambling to reach higher ground.
  6. 75
    If, like me, you're both desperate to see new public-works systems in our own country and sensitive to the possible human and ecological damage, Up the Yangtze provides a devastating view of top-down, broad-stroke social programs.
  7. 63
    China's public image suffers another blow with Up the Yangtze, a documentary by Chinese-Canadian Yung Chang.

See all 17 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7