‘ love poem’ for Yangtze
bridge between tradition and present day.”
In the modern age, the river has been drastically changed by the development of massive cities along its banks, and by the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest power station in terms of installed capacity.
The film shows the rusty hulk, named Guang 039, going through the huge, ultramodern locks at Three Gorges in order to continue its trip upriver. At the same time, the film shows a map of the towns and places that were submerged and vanished when the dam was completed.
“Perhaps the single most important metaphor is the rising water level which was a consequence of the Three Gorges Dam project and does not only submerge a lot of ancient sites but also it serves to block the love story in the film from going any further,” Yang says.
“That’s a key metaphor that we see again and again in Chinese culture: The beautiful being changed by the passage of time — the changes that time brings about not only to cultural things but also to love.”