Film Review: ‘Plastic China’
Life in one Chinese town is entirely dedicated to recycling of First World waste in Jiu-liang Wang’s documentary.
There’s novelty but not a lot of substance to Jiu-liang Wang’s documentary “Plastic China,” which serves as a thematic sequel of sorts to his 2011 “Beijing Besieged by Waste.” The description of the new film is intriguing: It portrays the lives of workers in an unnamed Chinese town entirely dedicated to the recycling of plastic. But the purist vérité approach allows almost no probing of the environmental, health, political, and other big-picture issues obviously relevant here, and the close-up focus on a few individuals provides frustratingly limited insight as well. With any random few minutes affording as much understanding as the near-structureless whole, this might have worked better as a video installation piece.