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Last Updated: Jan 11, 2017 URL: http://resources.primarysource.org/modernchina Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Documentaries

2 million minutes. Indianapolis: Broken Pencil Productions, 2007.
Examines the daily lives, pressures, and ambitions of six high school students the U.S., China, and India, and their future prospects in the global economy.

China 21. K Bik Films, 2001.
Follows four Chinese families as they step into the 21st century. In Shanghai as well as rural Hunan they face a rapidly changing social and economic scene

China from the Inside. PBS, 2007.
A series of four documentaries that survey China through Chinese eyes to see how history has shaped them, and where the present is taking them. Deals with the governance of China; talks about the past and future for Chinese women; looks at China's environmental challenges; explores China's conflict between personal freedom and governance. Episode 1: Power and the People; Episode 2: Women of the Country; Episode 3: Shifting Nature; Episode 4: Freedom and Justice.

China's Century of Change. Community Television Foundation of South Florida, 2005.
This video takes a look at China's economy through the eyes of its people, focusing on an entrepreneur, a middle class couple, a farmer, and a migrant worker to show the new roles they play in modern China's economy.

Great Wall Across the Yangtze. PBS, 2000.
In 1994, the People's Republic of China ordered the damming of the Yangtze River setting off the construction of the world's largest dam and hydroelectric power-plant. This video looks at both sides : Chinese leaders hope the project will propel the economy into the 21st century; critics think it's a social and environmental disaster.


 

Up the Yangtze

A "farewell cruise" takes a luxury ship up the vast Yangtze River shortly before completion of the massive Three Gorges Dam. The passengers glimpse a rapidly changing countryside, while the local people struggle to adapt as their lives are irrevocably altered.

Educators can download a lesson plan and discussion guide (PDF) from PBS.

 

Last Train Home

Every spring, China's cities are plunged into chaos as 130 million migrant workers journey to their home villages for the New Year's holiday. This documentary follows the fractured lives of a migrant family caught up in this desperate annual migration.

Educators can download lesson plans and a discussion guide from PBS. 

 

Young and Restless in China

View the companion website from PBS and watch the full program online at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/youngchina.

 

China Prep

This documentary follows five students in their last year at an elite prep school in Sichuan Province. Watch the full episode and find additional resources from the Wide Angle website.

 

China Blue

Examines the conditions of a factory in Shaxi, China, where mostly young women workers produce blue jeans for the western market in the age of globalization. Download a discussion guide (PDF) from Bullfrog Films.

 

Beijing Taxi

This feature-length documentary portrays the ancient capital of China undergoing a profound transformation. The intimate lives of three taxi drivers are seen through a humanistic lens as they navigate a quickly morphing city, confronting modern issues and changing values.

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Feature Films

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Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
At the height of Mao's Cultural Revolution, two teenage boys are among thousands exiled to the countryside for "re-education." The narrator and his best friend find themselves in a remote village where their only distractions are a violin and the beautiful daughter of the local tailor.

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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Set in 19th century China, two master warriors are faced with their greatest challenge when the treasured Green Destiny sword is stolen.

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King of Masks
Desperate for his art to survive, the King of Masks finds an apprentice in a destitute child purchased on the black market. When the child reveals an unexpected secret, their relationship is suddenly tested by both the old man's stubborn sense of tradition and the established customs of China.

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Not One Less
A young woman is ordered to a remote Chinese village to be a substitute teacher. Barely older than her students, the shy girl is charged with keeping the class intact for one month or she won't be paid. When one of her students disappears into the city to find work, the stubborn teacher is determined to follow the boy and bring him back to school. Once in the city, her simple peasant pleas fall on deaf ears, and only when the local television sympathizes does her search bear fruit.

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