New Film From The Ministry That Brought You 43 Dead Bodies

First came the film. You can watch it above. It was released in December 2010. You’ll want to have your speakers on. It’s got that kind of soundtrack. (I feel like fast-walking just thinking about it.)

This five minute promotion was directed by Zhang Yimou. Perhaps you’ve seen his work? “Raise the Red Lantern”? The Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony? The guy is known for quality – and cost.

Seems that 5 minute slice of railway magic had a large price tag. It cost HK$22.7 million (US$2.9 million) to produce. That’s roughly HK$4.5 million (US$585,304) per minute. Or HK$75,666 (US$9,755) per second.

In other words, you owe me about a half-million dollars for the time it’s taken me to write this far. (So I type slow but at these rates you would too!)

The only problem is the Ministry of Railways didn’t go through the public tender process. Awkward! And it wasn’t all original work according to the Ministry’s former video editor, who was quoted in The South China Morning Post:

“We spent many years getting those shots. I would say we did more than 95 percent of the film.”

Sleek, Modern and On the Tracks!

The price, the work and the lack of tender were all reported in an audit released yesterday. They also got into the film critic business, saying the film “failed to meet expectations.” Ouch!

This puts the Ministry further under a cloud. They’ve been trying to adjust to a more normal life as time passed since the crash that killed 43 people. And the cover-up when one crumpled rail car was buried before any investigations. All this got Minister Liu Zhijun fired.

It appears this problem is being swept under his carpet, as well. Liu was dismissed on 25 February 2011. This film pre-dates his departure. And the horrific accident.

Here’s an awful thought. What if the people on the train that crashed had been watching this film at the time?  Does your head in, doesn’t it?

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