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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Dead Pigs

Streaming on the Mubi Web site / Film & TV

Before directing Margot Robbie in the Hollywood film Birds of Prey, Cathy Yan made her debut feature, Dead Pigs, which used the real-life discovery of 16,000 pig corpses in China’s Huangpu River to examine the country’s approach to progress and modernization, and provide an acute commentary on class. Told through a series of interwoven stories, the film is beautifully shot, cleverly structured, and scattered with witty rebukes. One particular pronouncement, “There are no ugly women. Only lazy ones!”—made by Candy, an unsentimental beauty-salon owner—quickly becomes more than just a goading message, embodying instead China’s obsession with success. —Bridget Arsenault

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