Political documentarian Zhao Liang draws inspiration from The Divine Comedy for this intoxicating and terrifying glimpse at the ravages wrought upon Inner Mongolia by its coal and iron industries. Beautiful grasslands are being overrun by mountains destroyed by coal mining, blackening the surrounding landscape and poisoning its people.
Behemoth tours exploding hillsides, dank mine shafts, cacophonous factories, and vacant cities, building upon Zhao’s previous exposés (2009’s Petition, 2007’s Crime and Punishment) by combining his investigative streak with a painterly vision of a social and ecological nightmare unfolding out of sight.
Mesmerizing and dreamlike in its stark birds’ eye observations of the industrial processes at work, this is a nearly silent trip into Dante’s circle of hell from one of China’s most talented filmmakers.
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