The account of a journey through an imaginary city, filmed along China’s new trade routes. Like the fictionalized Marco Polo from Italo Calvino’s “Invisible Cities”, the traveller in this film talks of worlds that resemble familiar places but follow their own, sometimes seemingly incredible rules. The observations condense into a meditation about the nature of cities and the transformation of the concept of globalization.
The foreign visitor’s voice sounds muffled, as if it were coming out of the cave whose interior views open the film. Time and again, the eye returns there – but the fluorescent rock faces soon turn into the sparkle of distant galaxies, the narrow confines of the cave indistinguishable from the vastness of space. It is a symbol of the decoupling of sign and meaning, of “real” and “false”, of sensual impressions and their positive geographical allocation that pervades the film: Daft Punk perform in front of a Chinese shopping mall; the Eiffel Tower stands first in a housing estate, then, folded up to a fraction of its size, in view of Big Ben and Tower Bridge.