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Gold Underground

Li Xiaofeng and Jia Kai

Release year: 2011

Run time: 138 mins

Film type: Documentary


Following the aggressive expansion of the coal mining industry, the northwestern town of Yulin has been transformed from poverty into China’s “Little Kuwait”. Almost overnight, millionaire nouveau riches spring up. At every point in the industrial chain—mining, heavy-duty transportation, information brokerage—people rush to take advantage of the flood of black gold. A mix of interviews, character profiles, observation, folk music and black humour, this tripartite documentary explores these three key industry nodes in Yulin, which is full of anxious and impetuous fortune hunters, and maps out a rough miniature of the developmental patterns and human cost of China’s exponential economic growth.


Director biography

Li Xiaofeng Born in Pingxiang, Jiangxi Province, and now living in Shanghai, Li Xiaofeng is the author of Films in the Twentieth Century and Creation of Documentary Films. Films include The Striker of the Spring Gong, awarded Best Short Documentary at the 8th Beijing Film Festival of University Students, 2001); The Night Goer, selected for the 20th Fribourg International Film Festival and the 8th Taipei Film Festival, as well as many international film exhibitions); Leather Shoes or Straw Sandals, selected for the NHK International High Resolution Documentary Project in 2006; and A Street Of One Hundred Paces.

Jia Kai Born in Suide, Sha’anxi Province, Jia Kai obtained his Master's degree from the Art Department of Beijing Normal University and now is a lecturer in the College of Communication and Art at Shanghai Tongji University. He is the translator of three books, including Robert J. Flaherty: A Biography, and has participated in the production of films such as The Night Goer, Leather Shoes or Straw Sandals, and A Street of One Hundred Paces. In addition, he has also produced many programs for CCTV, Beijing TV Station, and Shanghai TV Station.