24 City

Synopsis: Change and a city in China. In Chengdu, factory 420 is being pulled down to make way for multi-story buildings with luxury flats. Scenes of factory operations, of the workforce, and of buildings stripped bare and then razed, are inter-cut with workers who were born in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s telling their stories - about the factory, which manufactured military aircraft, and about their work and their lives. A middle-aged man visits his mentor, now elderly; a woman talks of being a 19-year-old beauty there and ending up alone. The film concludes with two young people talking, each the child of workers, each relaying a story of one visit to a factory. Times change.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Zhangke Jia
Production: FilmsWeLike
  5 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
112 min

Chengfa Group

The five-star red flag flutters in the wind

How glorious our song of victory

Singing for our beloved motherland

As she prospers and grows strong



Dear Directors,

distinguished guests, good morning.

Today, 29 December 2007,

will mark a new and glorious chapter

in the development of the Chengfa Group.

For nearly 50 years

we have faced difficulties

and challenging breakthroughs

of economic reform.

Now a revitalized Chengfa Group

is about to move

from the site of the old factory...

The cherished hibiscus of 24 City,

in full bloom

Chengdu shone and prospered

Ancient poem


He Xikun

Back then, we thought of 420

as a large factory.

But I knew that it did work for the military.

It made aircraft and aero engines.

We were fitters, our job was to repair

all the machinery and equipment in 420.

We were solely responsible for repairs.

We did regular maintenance

and repairs when necessary.

We took care of all that.

Back then, he was in charge

of Fitter Group 4.

There's one thing I remember...

I had just arrived.

I had no idea that the fitters

made their own tools.

One thing we used was called a scraper.

It was a kind of blade, shaped like this.

We had to make them ourselves.

When we received the metal,

we cut it and then honed the edge.

It was about this long.

As it got worn down and became this short,

we couldn't use it anymore.

But he kept on using them regardless.

When the thing was really worn out,

he hung it from his belt.

As you had to hone the edge,

the tool got all worn away.

Useless! But he kept on using it.

One time, a scraper was worn

right down so I threw it away.

Then Master Wang said: "Xiao He,

"you know that this small thing

"has come into our hands

through those of many others.

"lt can still be used."

So he picked it up,

re-honed it and used it again.

I was so impressed.

People like me were too immature.

We had to learn not to be wasteful.

Old masters like Master Wang knew well:

"Waste not want not".

He was right and I learned that from him.

He knew how many hands our tools

had passed through.

I feel guilty

when I speak about Master Wang.

For years, I've been so busy

that I haven't visited him.

He Xikun, born 1948 in Chengdu

Apprenticed in 1964 in Workshop 61

Later joined the army

He Xikun, male, aged 30

Work card 07718968

issued by State mechanic factory Xindu

During the clashes

of the Cultural Revolution,

factories and mines stopped work.

But he carried on working.

Hardly anyone went to the factory.

Talking about this

makes me feel a bit sad.

I would have died if you hadn't come.

She's hidden everything.

Hidden what? What was there to hide?

She mentioned a knife.

I can neither live nor die.

I have nothing left.

They took three X-rays.

After a long wait.

This hospital is hopeless.

They suggested we move

to the provincial hospital.

Were the X-rays computer-enhanced?

-So the images are clear?

-Think so.

What have you got to say?

What have you got to say?

You! What have you got to say?

Seeing you makes me a bit nervous.


Are you happy?

Happy to see me?

Of course I'm happy.

It's been so long.

Too bad!

I wouldn't have known you

if we'd passed on the street.

I wouldn't have known you.

Have I changed?

Look, I'm thinner.

Just like for those

who were in my workshop.

We greet each other when we meet.

But I forget.

My brain's rusty.

Too slow.

It was okay before.

I used to remember things well.

But not now.

You did a lot for the factory.

Back then,

when I started working here,

I used to worry.

I came here in 1959.

If I ever took a day off, I'd work nights

to make up.

I even worked through New Year

and on Sundays.

Every single day.

We were under pressure back then.

It was during the Korean war.





Secretary Guan

Guan Fengjiu,

born 1935 in Haicheng, Liaoning

Head of security in Factory 420

Deputy secretary of Party Committee

when he retired

We were implementing

Chairman Mao's strategy.

Moving military factories to inland areas

sheltered by the mountains here.

Armament factories and the aeronautics

were in the north-east.

During the Korean War,

that was the front line against the Yanks.

In line with the new strategy,

we built factories in the south-west.

We picked this place.

We were under contract to Factory 111.

We repaired aircraft engines there,

MlG-15s during the Korean War.

They were used by the Chinese

and North Korean air forces

to fight American imperialism.

Factory 111 built Factory 420.

It was Factory 111...

On 3 November,

there was a general assembly.

Our factory was going

to build 420 in Chengdu.

We needed 60% of the staff,

That is, 60% of the Factory 111 staff.

We all had to move down here.

A certain amount of the equipment

from 111 was moved here

with the people to run it.

Various specialists,

technical staff, cadres mobilized.

The meeting was on 3 November,

I transferred in December.

I was in charge of the security section.

I was one of the first to arrive.

There were more

than four thousand workers.


After Mom came here,

every year I thought of visiting home

to see my parents.

She wanted that too,

thought about it year on year.

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Zhangke Jia

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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