Pingyao, a UNESCO World Heritage site, hopes to keep tourists coming with Jia Zhangke’s new international film festival.
Millions of tourists visit the walled ancient city of Pingyao every year, but its faded movie theater has never been an attraction. The theater has been closed for over a decade, idly gathering dust as throngs of people shuffle by.
Nevertheless, the 2,700-year-old city in northern China’s Shanxi province could soon be at the center of Chinese cinema.
Several months ago, pile drivers starting pounding away at Pingyao’s abandoned diesel engine factory, transforming it into the site of the area’s first international film festival. The inaugural Pingyao Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon International Film Festival (PYIFF) — named after the Oscar-winning kung fu movie — will kick off in late October.
The main driver behind the project is celebrated Chinese cineast and Shanxi native Jia Zhangke.