DATONG follows the life and work of a controversial Chinese Communist Mayor GENG YANBO to tell the story about how he takes a radical reform to demolish 140,000 households and relocate half a million people to give way to restoration of Ancient relic walls in order to adopt a clean economic growth from tourism and culture, which he believes will do good to DA TONG citizen in the long term. With two years in the footsteps of GENG, along with the changing ideology and confrontations from the public, the film is trying to draw a looming shape of future of China.
User Reviews: There’s no need to travel more than 6,000 miles to Datong, Shanxi to know that the life of a politician is mostly filled with accusations, confrontations, and pure misery. However, the life of Mayor Geng Yanbo is much more stressful than your average American politician since his plan to relocate 500,000 citizens in the name of cleaning out his town (the most polluted city in China due to coal-mining) is met with much hostility. Director Hao Zhou paints a portrait of an individual who appears to want to serve his community with the best of intentions. But moving 30% of the city’s population is bound to spark a resistance, especially when there are already issues with the newly constructed housing projects. Along with tracking multiple stray dogs trotting through heaps of garbage, Zhou provides the opposition an opportunity to share their stories and one can only wince at the heartbreaking loss many of these victims are facing. Yanbo may believe you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, but how many eggs have to be broken before the omelet is doing more damage than good. In regards to this case, T.S. Eliot’s quote is quite fitting with, "Most of the evil in this world is done by people with good intentions." -Jimmy Martin