South to North

The Communist Party of China has a problem: For ages, the drought has made life and farming difficult in northern China but the grand Yangtze River has had plenty of water even during the dry season. Already in 1952 Mao Zedong presented the bashful thought of “borrowing water”.

In 2002 China began the world’s largest water diversion project by the name “nan shui bei diao” where a part of the Yangtze River would be diverted to flow towards the Yellow River in the north. Understandably, the areas where the diversion channels were planned to be constructed on were densely populated. Despite this, the corrupt officials did not feel shy about swinging a hammer in order to secure future water flow there where only a while ago still were people’s homes.

The officials are laughing their faces off while showing the villages built for “the transferred”, but those who have had to move there are not amused. The dominating colours in these reservations are black, grey and brown, and the residents do not have much hope. Eventually the documentary, by the French Antoine Boutet, also gives a voice to the activists who resist the project with varying degrees of success. The saddest part of all is, however, seeing the farmland allocated to the residents by the officials: the sand cannot hold even water.

Text: Lauri Holma / Translation: Anniina Hautakoski

Director Antoine Boutet will be present at the screening on Saturday.

Languages: Mandarin, Chinese
Subtitles: English



  • Name in Original Language: Sud eau nord deplacer
  • Director: Antoine Boutet
  • Country: France
  • Year: 2014
  • Length: 109 min
  • Age limit: S
  • Format: DCP
  • Cinematography: Antoine Boutet
  • Editing: Antoine Boutet
  • Audio: Antoine Boutet
  • Production: Patrice Nezan, Laurent Versini / Les Films du Présent, Julie Paratian, Lucie Corman / Sister productions


  • Kinopalatsi 7: Wednesday 28.1. at 17:30
  • Kinopalatsi 8: Saturday 31.1. at 17:30