Zhang Zanbo, Falling from the Sky, 2009 (still)
Film, Free

Falling From the Sky

Saturday, Jan 26, 2019


Phyllis Wattis Theater, Floor 1

The little-known county of Suining in Hunan province is an ordinary yet magical place. As the site of the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, the area has experienced many instances of falling rocket debris since the 1990s. These mysterious and dangerous “visitors from the heavens” have disrupted the lives of its 160,000 residents. 2008 was both the year China hosted the Olympics and its “year of aerospace.” Beneath the veneer of these national celebrations, the residents of Suining were forced once again to face their peculiar fate of debris falling from the sky.

In this film I use the satellite debris landing zone in Suining as a microcosm for the true face of life beneath the powerful national will in hopes of eliciting reflections on our homeland and its real conditions. Here the sky is not just the sky in the physical sense, but also a stand-in for the national will. Perhaps in 2008 this little-known county was closer to the real China than the Olympics or the Shenzhou 7 space mission.
–Zhang Zanbo, Director

In Falling from the Sky, debris from China’s satellites crashes down without regard for the people living in the launch pad’s environs. It is the same with the state and its people—their trauma and their destiny are tied to and suppressed by the nation’s pursuit of glory.
–Ai Weiwei

Film Details

Language: Mandarin and Hunan dialect with Chinese and English subtitles
Year: 2009
Running time: 145 min
Director: Zhang Zanbo 張贊波

Films and schedules may be subject to change.