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West of the Tracks - Rails, Part 1
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West of the Tracks Collection - Rails
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Tie Xi is a massive industrial complex in northeastern China's Shenyang province. Built during the Japanese occupation of China and restructured with Soviet support after World War II, it is the country's oldest and largest manufacturing center. From the postwar period to the 1980s, the thriving factories employed more than a million workers, but like other state-run industries they began their collapse in the early 1990s.

In West of the Tracks, filmmaker Wang Bing documents the slow, inevitable death of an obsolete manufacturing system. Between 1999 and 2001 he meticulously filmed the lives of the last factory workers, a class of people once promised glory during the Chinese revolution. Now trapped by economic change, the workers become deeply moving film heroes in this modern epic. The film is an engrossing portrait of Chinese society in transition. Cahiers du Cinema compares Wang Bing to the great Russian writers and calls his film "a masterful production, an open file on realism." West of the Tracks "opens up a new and radical era in cinematography."

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