Slow Boat

A Day on the Grand Canal 
With the Emperor of China

Eastern China's Grand Canal has played an important role in the nation's economic and agricultural development since its inception in the 5th century BC. This documentary is somewhat misleadingly titled, as artist David Hockney, not the emperor of China, hosts the film. Hockney examines a 72-foot-long 17th-century Chinese painted scroll depicting the emperor's journey down the canal. Portraying many aspects of Chinese life at the time, the scroll stands as an excellent primary-source representation of life along the waterway; along with Hockney's fascinating analysis, it's the next best thing to actually having been there.
Fri., June 20, 6:30 p.m., 2008