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JP Sniadecki

Release year: 2007

Run time: 29 mins

Film type: Documentary


The Songhua River runs through Harbin, the capital of China’s Heilongjiang province, and serves as the city's main water source. At all hours of the day, people flock to the crowded urban space where Harbin meets the river. By attending to the everyday activities of leisure and labour unfolding along the banks and promenade, Songhua depicts the intimate and complex relationship between Harbin city residents and their “mother river”. Through the use of the long take, this nonfiction video also explores the interface between art and ethnography in order to address social issues in a major waterway of northeastern China.


Director biography

JP Sniadecki is an anthropologist-filmmaker whose work includes El Mar La Mar (2017), The Iron Ministry (2014), Yumen (2013), People’s Park (2012), Foreign Parts (2010), and Demolition (2008). In collaboration with Zhu Rikun, he runs a 16mm film workshop in Songzhuang, Beijing, China. He is a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, and Associate Professor and the Director of the MFA program in Documentary Media at Northwestern University, USA.