Chongqing has again drawn much attention from the public recently with the release of a film called “Better Days“. As the shooting place of the movie, this internet-famous site soon attracted a huge number of visitors. Tang Guoxiang, director of the movie, said he considered many other places before the shooting, but when he came to Chongqing, he saw “lots of large overpass bridges, skyscrapers as well as alleys. It looks like a maze, creating the atmosphere of a prison impossible to escape from, which helps the move to present the inevitable melancholy in puberty.” In this issue of “Chongqing Stories”, we’ll follow director Tang’s lens to explore Chongqing.
In the film, the tree-lined road leading to the heroine Chen Nian’s school is near Chongqing Railway Middle School, located in Huangjueping Jiulongpo district. Every morning, the sun shines through the dense leaves on the young faces of the students, accompanying them into the campus to learn something new.
The protagonists Chen and Xiaobei are met outside the shabby bazaar named “toy buggy town”, which is, in reality, the Yinxing mall located in Chaotianmen. The shops inside the building and the display are old-fashioned.
Chen Nian’s home is in an old tube-shaped building constructed in the late 1990s in Haitangxi, Nan ‘an district. Tube-shaped building refers to a building with multiple rooms connected by a long corridor and resembles a tube. The uniqueness of this tube-shaped building lies in its splayed courtyard and zigzag staircase, which is a metaphor for imprisonment in the film.
One day after school, Chen Nian was besieged by her peers and saved by Xiaobei. This scene was shot in the spiraling parking lot as showed in the picture below. Xiaobei’s home is under the Sujiaba Overpass, in Nan’an district, close to the No.4 exit of Gongmao station in rail transit line 3. As the end of the shooting, that house was demolished. Sujiaba Overpass is the tallest ramp bridge nationwide with the height of 72 meters. It was built to cope with the elevation difference of 30 meters between the Caiyuanba bridge and Haitong road. The whole parking lot is spiraling upward like a roller coaster.
There are two scenes in the film where Xiaobei escorts Chen Nian to school, one is at the secluded path next to Kuixing building and the other is in the famous Huanguan Escalator. The escalator was put into construction since February 1993 and was completed on February 18, 1996. It is 112 meters in length, 1.3 meters in width, 52.7 meters in lifting height, 30 degrees in inclination, running 0.75 meters per second in operation and it takes 2 minutes and a half to reach the top. It is the second longest escalator in Asia.
In the movie poster, the archaize building Xiaobei passing by is Kuixing building in Linjiangmen, Yuzhong district. This place appears twice in the film, once is the secluded path mentioned above, the other is the overbridge connecting the Kuixing square and the neighboring office building on its 23rd floor.
In the film, there is another place that has been shot many times for different scenes: the Tongyuanbureau rail station on line 3 of the rail transit. The director uses the exit to design a unique footbridge. The winding stairs, as well as the layered traffic lines created a unique sense of space.
In the last shot, Xiaobei passes by the old tree root. The bright sunshine and the vigorous vitality of the old tree root seem to indicate a bright ending of the movie. This beautiful street is the fourth Zhongshan road in Yuzhong district. It is just 800 meters long. Standing alongside the street are lush trees and historic buildings, including the municipal government’s building. Pedestrians walking through here are always impressed by the trees that embed their roots deeply into the crumbling walls. It is this city that gives Chongqing people its tough character, just like those trees.
This is all about the movie “Better Days”. Dear readers, in the future, we will share more films and TV programs about Chongqing with you in our Chongqing Stories. Thanks for your continuous attention.