Smog Town (2019)

  • 1h 20m
  • Meng Han
  • China, Netherlands, South Korea
  • 2019

Sat 20 Jun, 5pm
Wed 1 Jul, 11am


China, long plagued by smog, has declared war “for the defence of the blue sky”. Smog Town shows the battle underway in one of its most air-polluted cities, Langfang.

At the local environmental protection bureau, deputy chief Li and his assistant Hu feel the full weight of responsibility.

Far-reaching measures are needed to combat the fog laced with smoke and exhaust fumes that are harming both the health of citizens and the image of the Communist Party. The government’s strict environmental policy includes imposing sanctions on the mayors who are responsible.

“The recurring image of Chanyuan’s desk
dominated by the sight of enormous piles
of documents, files and reports
becomes, in many ways,
the metaphor for the complexity of the dilemma
he and his agency’s employees have to face.”


The task is clear: to improve air quality, now. But how is this possible? How do they navigate between the conflicting interests of government, industry, small business owners and employees affected? Climate versus economy - a dilemma faced by both China and the rest of the world.   A wonderful observational documentary about two very likeable men with the best of intentions and the weight of the world on their shoulders.

Previous festival selections include:
Visions du Réel


Meng Han


Chinese, English

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