Up The Yangtze

Synopsis: A luxury cruise boat motors up the Yangtze - navigating the mythic waterway known in China simply as "The River." The Yangtze is about to be transformed by the biggest hydroelectric dam in history. At the river's edge - a young woman says goodbye to her family as the floodwaters rise towards their small homestead. The Three Gorges Dam - contested symbol of the Chinese economic miracle - provides the epic backdrop for Up the Yangtze, a dramatic feature documentary on life inside modern China.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Yung Chang
Production: Zeitgeist Films
  14 wins & 11 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
93 min

I used to work in the old city

as a coolie.

I used a pushcart

to carry luggage

from the boats

that docked next to the shore.

After the old city moved

across the river

they took down your old house,

no matter who you were.

I had to find a place on my own

so I built a hut

next to the shore.

Right here where no one lives

I can plant some vegetables.

There are dots in this one.

That doesn't look so good.

Let's move on.

I think my family is living

a pretty good life.

I think the downside would be

that the house we're living in

is not in very good condition.

But the good side

is that we have good food.

Because I know

that many of my classmates

don't eat as well as we do.

I want to go to high school

after middle school.

High school?

Where's the money for that?

Many of my classmates

are going to high school.

Now we're in a socialist society

that demands knowledge.

We need to go to high school.

Besides, the country needs

well-educated talent.

So middle school is not enough.

It's not that

I don't want you to go.

Because if you go alone,

do we just forget about

your little brother and sister?

It's better

if you go and earn some money.

Then you can afford to go later.

How can I make that much money?

We'll see then,

if you can't make that much...

The water will soon rise

when the Three Gorges Dam


I'm really worried.

But even if my heart worries,

there is nothing I can do.

The Three Gorges Dam is

a national project, not private.

The higher level of government

distributes the money.

But when the money trickles down

through the hands of the people,

like corrupt officials,

it just disappears.

My father was

a minor village official

for the old government,

so after liberation

he was labelled

a counter-revolutionary.

Our farm collective

persecuted my family,

so we fled from my hometown.

My mom starved to death in

the Great Famine of the 1960s.

It was like this

during Mao's time.

Before I think my dream

was to go to university

and be a scientist.

But now i think it's impossible.

I'd say maybe let Yu Shui...

...go to work.

I think that's what

she should do.

We can't make enough money

for her to study.

How can she go to school

when she only scored 400 points?

She can only go to work.

Let her go to work first...

Of course

I'm worried that

if we let her go study

then we'll be short of money.

But if we don't

she may blame us later.

When the water rises and

the Three Gorges gate closes,

where can you farm?

You can't even have a life.

She'll be fine

working on the boat.

Some of her classmates

are working on the Fengdu boats.

Let's go dance!


If you have nothing to do,

Chen Bo Yu is leaving.

Come and join us.

The mood's not right!

Let's go to Wild Cat to dance.

Don't be like this,

lingering in my mind,

you'll find out how lonely I am.

In my dreams, I've kissed you

a thousand times...

When the boat managers

came to our school,

they told me they hired me

because I have two advantages:

First I'm good-looking,

and second I'm good at English.

I am abitious, I'm never

satisfied with what I have.

I don't want

a flat and tasteless life.

Tonight's about having fun.

Tomorrow will be about

my career.

Career is the top priority!

When I come back

in the New Year,

I guarantee you guys

more fun than you can handle!

In my opinion

you are still students.

Whenever you have difficulties

in your life, give me a shout.

Soon I'll be earning

my own money.

I'll have more than you guys.

Let's fill it up.

Drink up to show that we share

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Yung Chang

Yung Chang (born 1977) is a Chinese Canadian film director and was part of the collective member directors of Canadian film production firm EyeSteelFilm. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Up The Yangtze" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 8 Dec. 2021. <https://www.scripts.com/script/up_the_yangtze_22637>.

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