(USA, China, 2013, 65 mins, HDCAM)
North American Premiere
CAST Chen Qi, Zhou Qian, Chen Xuehua, Huang Xiang, Xu Ruotao
PROD Xu Shan, Xu Ruotao, J.P. Sniadecki
SCR Xu Ruotao, J.P. Sniadecki, Huang Xiang
CAM J.P. Sniadecki, Huang Xiang
EDS J.P. Sniadecki, Xu Ruotao, Huang Xiang
SOUND J.P. Sniadecki, Huang Xiang
PROD CO Xu Shan, Xu Ruotao, J.P. Sniadecki


Two Chinese avant-garde artists (Xu Ruotao and Huang Xiang) and an American experimental filmmaker (J.P. Sniadecki) have made a brilliant new experimental-fiction-documentary-feature (it’s hard to classify). Full of abstract ideas, it is nevertheless as concrete as the rubble, rabbits and viscous oil that feature in its images.

Set in the largely abandoned oil drilling town of Yumen—a place with an ancient, poetic history in China’s western Gansu province—the film takes us through trashed, desolate urban spaces abandoned by Chinese socialism. But the filmmakers bring these places alive with their cast of ghosts, artists, vagabond dancers and singers. Yumen is both challengingly plotless and chock full of fascinating things: massive oil pumps and sun-blasted vistas; nude performance art and impromptu flamenco; fuzzy bunny rabbits and snarling canines; groovy 70s Taiwan pop and contempo Korean girl bands; socialist nostalgia and postmodern “ruin porn.”

Yumen is a haunting, fragmented tale of hungry souls, restless youth, a wandering artist and a lonely woman, all searching for human connection and a collective past among the town’s crumbling landscape. Shot entirely on 16mm, the film brings together narrative gesture, performance art and socialist realism into a crude and radiant collage that not only plays with convention and defies genre, but also pays homage to a disappearing life-world and a fading medium."—the directors

Shelly Kraicer

Preceded By: Lovers Are Artists (Part 2)

DIR Lu Fang / China, 2012, 12 min.

A young Chinese woman plays with dirt and chocolate, and performs unspeakable acts on fancy shoes with a circular saw… (SK)

Film Contact Information
Print Contact
J.P. Sniadecki
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Phone 1: (269) 267 2335 (US)
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