Distributor:  Global Environmental Justice
Length:  60 minutes
Date:  2008
Genre:  Expository
Language:  Mandarin / English subtitles
Color/BW:  Color


Curator imageJason A.Carbine, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Whittier College

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Before the Flood II

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Part II. Yan Yu follows up his first film with Before the Flood II, a profile of the residents of Gongtan, a 1700-year-old village soon to be demolished and flooded during the construction of Three Gorges dams and reservoir.

Before the Flood II

These films were selected by Jason A. Carbine, C. Milo Connick Chair of Religious Studies Associate Professor Department of Religious Studies, Whittier College.

Why I selected these films
I chose these films in part because they resonate with other documentaries in this collection --Waking the Green Tiger, Dams, Drugs and Democracy, and Yindabad -- that examine environmental, social, and political issues related to hydroelectric power development and management, worldwide.

I also selected the films because they are particularly useful for any kind of interdisciplinary courses in Asian Studies and in other fields that examine the moral economies of water and water management, as seen from a different local and global perspectives, including comparative social ethics. These films provide an intimate and intense exploration of the tensions, fears, anxieties, and conflicts that arise when people are displaced for development purposes.

Teacher's guide
Please see the combined guide for both films for maps and background information and suggested subjects, questions and activities.

Synopsis Part II
Yan Yu follows his groundbreaking documentary Before the Flood with this profile of the residents of Gongtan, a 1700-year-old village. Gongtan, an historic village located on a tributary of the Yangtze, is about to be flooded by a dam project, forcing its residents to relocate. National imperatives displace local lives as authorities make decisions with little regard for village life. Ran Qingsong, a barber, and Ran Si, a cell-phone proprietor, rally the residents of Gongtan to stand against their impending displacement. But the will of the townspeople to save their land and homes soon wavers in the face of external pressure and internal suspicion.

Environmental Justice Focus
This film documents interrelations between environmental engineering and bureaucratic mismanagement, dehumanization, and displacement. Mr. Haiyu Xiang, a hostel owner, symbolizes the plight of many, as he and others struggle against the forces of large-scale water and power management in China.

"Yan Yu's long-term commitment to the subject matter (he has spent the last six years working on these films) shines through in this latest effort to chronicle the human cost of a project that has forced 1.4 million people to relocate."—Ling Woo Liu, Time Magazine


Hong Kong International Film Festival

Yunnan Multi Culture Visual Festival

International Documentary Festival Amsterdam


Main credits

Yan, Yu (film director)
Yan, Yu (cinematographer)

Other credits

Cinematographer, Yan Yu; editing, Yi Pinyu.

Distributor credits

Li Yi-fan and Yan Yu

Li Yi-fan and Yan Yu

Directors: Li Yi-fan, Yan Yu
Editors: Yu Yan
Cinematography: Yu Yan

Docuseek subjects

Environmental Justice
Women's Studies
Asian Studies
Anthropology and Archaeology
Dams and Hydroelectricity
Rivers and Lakes
Government Policy
Communication and Media Studies
Citizenship, Social Movements and Activism
Human Rights
Global / International Studies
Film and Video Studies
East Asia

Distributor subjects

Asian Studies
Environmental Geography
Human Rights
Visual Anthropology


"Before the Flood"; "Yan Mo"; China; Three Gorges Dam; Fengjie; YAN Yu; LI Yifan; hydropower; hydroelectricity; "Before the Flood II"; Gongtan; Icarus Films; dGenerate Films; Yangtze River; oustees; displaced populations; "Before the Flood II "; Global Environmental Justice; women; gender; activism;

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