Premiered in the innovation-focused section Venice Orizzonti, WENHAI HUANG’s short documentary is an exquisite cinematic exploration of the unseen industrialization process China is currently undergoing, particularly from the shipbuilding business’ perspective. Masterful expressionist shot compositions and the equally elaborated and poignant sound design place CRUST in the realm of industrial poetry, in which anonymous human destinies take their course within the boundaries of mechanical interstitial spaces.
WENHAI HUANG (b. 1971, China) attended the Photography Department at Beijing Film Academy. From 1996 to 2000 he worked as a journalist, screenwriter and director at the national television channels (departments of news and society). In 2001, he decided to quit his job to become an independent filmmaker. Since 2002 he started to work on a series of internationally acclaimed documentaries as director, cinematographer and editor. A recurring guest of the Orizzonti section of the Venice Film Festival, his 78’ documentary Reconstructing Faith was part of the selection and his 2008 documentary WE won a Special Mention here. Interested in contemporary social issues, WENHAI HUANG would like that his movies be shown not only abroad, but that the Chinese can also see them and really look in the mirrors he has tried so far to cast through his documentaries.
IDFA Amsterdam Paradocs 2010 / Venice Film Festival - Orizzonti 2010
“Through the fog, amidst the siren sounds, we entered into this piece of mysterious land - an iron and steel industrial base. With a relatively simple structure, in a relatively short time, CRUST makes audiences experience 10 minutes from the lives of Chinese workers.” (WENHAI HUANG)
“Shadows loom up on the misty wharf, swarming like ants around a colossal ship under construction. Smoke and sparks fill the air. The ghostly apparitions weld sheets of metal in echoing corridors. The appropriate industrial soundtrack makes their world seem all the more claustrophobic. Fritz Lang's Metropolis was filmmaker WENHAI HUANG's inspiration for this documentary without dialogue, for which he visited a stretch of land along the Yangtze River that has been transformed into a world-class shipyard. At this one yard, 10 ships are under construction for a German client, each costing 15 million euros. China's shipbuilding industry is now ranked second in the world, and the Chinese workers are working flat out to deliver the order. This cheap manpower enables the biggest, most beautiful hulls to be made, bearing the familiar label Made in China. But the story behind the industrialization of China remains as shadowy and mysterious as the figures we see in the film.” (IDFA PARADOCS)