The Chinese Shoes



A personal journey through the Three Gorges Region and Sichuan, through landscape and history. Starting from my grandparents stay in China I venture to get to know the China of today. In my luggage are my grandparents' photos, sound recordings, notes and letters, and a small pair of old Chinese Shoes. These are my "travel guides" to the country and her people. Using those souvenirs throughout the film I establish the links between the past and the present.
Late in the summer of 2002 I travel up the Yangtze, through the Three Gorges, on to the large cities of Sichuan. My ship passes the world’s largest dam, about to be completed, in a few weeks time the flooding will begin. I experience the pulling down of the last towns and the building of new ones. Everywhere I am confronted with great changes. Nothing will stay as it is, even the landscape my grandparents knew will be soon become history. I meet people who are affected by those changes, including two women over a hundred years old who, in their own way, tell me about the China of my grandparent’s time. In an external environment of radical change, the film attempts to raise questions about the intertwining of past and present. As in all my films I am working with long sequences and sparse commentary; images, people and experiences talk for themselves.

Research and Directing: Tamara Wyss; Camera: Lutz Reitemeier, T. Wyss; Sound: Xing Ding; Editing: Anette Fleming, T. Wyss. 104 Min., 2002-2004, 35mm; Mediopolis Film- und Fernseh GmbH with CICC (Beijing); arte grand-format and others; German Public Film Funds.
Distribution: (Repertoire); DVD at (German and English subtitles)