Great Wall Across the Yangtze

Engineers are constructing the world’s largest dam across the Yangtze River. Critics fear the dam will be a social and environmental disaster.

Film Signature Image
Global Voices
Premiere Date
October 3, 2000
60 minutes
Funding Initiative
Series and Special Projects
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2000 Berkeley Video and Film Festival-Grand Festival Award, Environmental Documentary category
  • Producer

    Ellen Perry

    Filmmaker Ellen Perry has traveled extensively throughout Europe, Asia, and the western Pacific islands, documenting the land and people through still photography and video. Perry holds a degree in cinema/television production from the University of Southern California, and has produced, directed, photographed, and edited numerous narrative Show more shorts including Keepers of the Flame, Lost Identity, and The Cycle. She has also art directed several films including Sugared Peas, which screened at First Look. She has published film criticism articles and she is currently working on a feature screenplay. Great Wall Across the Yangtze was her first documentary production. Show less

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    The Film

    Against the backdrop of China’s stunning Three Gorges, Great Wall Across the Yangtze tells the story of a powerful river that for centuries has helped shape the evolution of Chinese civilization — but today faces its greatest challenge. In 1994, the People’s Republic of China approved the construction of the world’s largest dam and hydroelectric power plant across this legendary river. Soon afterwards, voices of outrage echoed through the halls of the National People’s Congress. Not since the protest of 1989 has the country been so divided on an issue.

    Made without government authorization, Great Wall Across the Yangtze takes you into the heart of China and explores the controversy behind the dam project as told by the people most affected — the engineer, who believes in his country and its urgent need for new sources of power and flood control; the people, who are being forcibly relocated to make way for the immense reservoir; the biologist, who works to find ways to save the Baiji River dolphin from extinction; and the archaeologist, who attempts to recover ancient artifacts before time runs out.