This edition of Urban Movies will feature the documentary The Land of Many Palaces by filmmakers Adam James Smith and Song Ting.
In Ordos, China, thousands of farmers are being relocated into a new city under a government plan to modernize the region. “The Land of Many Palaces” （《宫殿之城》）follows a government official whose job is to convince these farmers that their lives will be better off in the city, and a farmer in one of the last remaining villages in the region who is pressured to move. The film explores a process that will take shape on an enormous scale across China, since the central government announced plans to relocate 250,000,000 farmers to cities across the nation, over the next 20 years.
In 2011, upon seeing photos of Ordos, China’s largest “ghost city”, in Time magazine, filmmakers Adam James Smith and Song Ting visited the city and were immediately captivated by what they saw. Unbeknown to the journalists who had already visited Ordos, the city was to become the testing ground for an unprecedented plan, designed by the central government, to relocate 250 million farmers to new urban districts all across China, over 15 years. Ordos is one of the first cities to be built to house relocated farmers. Between December 2012 and February 2014, Adam and Ting, with producing help from Wang Qihan, followed this relocation process and shot the film over several trips. From January to July 2014 the film was edited in Thailand by Adam, and music was composed by Rob Scales in the UK.