Behemoth

  • ACMI CINEMAS Federation Square, Flinders Street Melbourne Australia

Dir. Liang Zhao | China | 2015 | 95 mins

In this visually striking documentary, dissident filmmaker Zhao Liang (Petition) takes us into the coal and iron mines of rural Mongolia where he examines the rampant destruction of the earth and its dehumanizing effects on the penurious local and migrant workers. Transposing the allegory of Dante’s Divine Comedy onto these mining sites, we follow an unnamed coal miner, who serves as narrator and stand-in for the Roman poet Virgil, leading us on a descent into this molten-infused, fiery chasms of Hell. Lensed with formalistic beauty, the film, thematically reminiscent of Sebastião Salgado's Workers series of photographs is fuelled by a sense of righteous indignation. Behemoth is a lyrical examination of the dangers of relentless energy consumption in a world where the value human lives are discounted by an unfeeling industrial system.

Remarkable, powerful ... Drawing as much on music and poetry as cinema, Behemoth works like a symphony
— Lee Marshall, Screen Daily
An impressively self-shot poetic exercise in controlled righteous outrage.
— Jay Weissberg, Variety

Winner: Green Drop Award & SIGNIS Award - Venice Film Festival
Winner: Golden Firebird Award - Hong Kong International Film Festival
Winner: Best Documentary - Stockholm Film Festival

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