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62 Ratings



United States, China, 2013


Yumen combines ghost stories and “ruin tourism” to form a celluloid psycho-collage of wandering souls seeking connection with one another and a lost collective history among the frozen remnants of the abandoned oil town of Yumen in China’s northwest Gansu province.

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Yumen Directed by J.P. Sniadecki, Huang Xiang, Xu Ruotao
Best of all was Yumen (2013), a lysergic city threnody in which the camera roams across an abandoned drilling town, interweaving ambience-heavy archival footage with performance art routines set in contemporary rubblescapes and fragmented voices talking about the past in terms of ghosts. There’s a hauntological feeling, the ‘ruin-porn’ aesthetic accentuated by gorgeously saturated colours and sweet Taiwanese pop songs from the 1970s.
October 02, 2015
Yumen veers close to ruin porn but does so purposefully, bringing a defiant sense of the poetic and the theatrically absurd to these depopulated spaces. The industry and government may have moved on from Yumen, but here it gets remade into Yumen, an ironic, abstract, campy, homemade art object.
August 21, 2015
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The performances in which "Yumen"’s stubborn stragglers dramatize their own situation suggest the influence of the Portuguese situation-documentarian Pedro Costa as the picturesque industrial ruins recalls the work of Werner Herzog, albeit without Herzog’s plummy voiceover.
May 19, 2013
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