White Horse Village (BBC America)
To travel from Chongqing, the boomtown megalopolis on China’s east coast, to White Horse Village, deep in its interior, “is to travel two centuries in two days,” correspondent Carrie Gracie explains in this beautiful, hard-hitting newscast feature. Largely bypassed by the great convulsions of Chinese history, verdant, sleepy, near-feudal White Horse is on the verge of obliteration. The Chinese government is determined to march its capitalistic “economic miracle” inland. Houses and fields are razed at a dizzying clip to make way for high-rise apartments, factories and freeways. Yet the strength of the report is not just the striking images, the lean, eloquent narration, or the startlingly candid interviews; it’s the acknowledgment that there are White Horse residents eager for modernity as well as those hostile to change. Within this representative village Gracie and cameraman Al Go find a core group of emblematic characters—the conflicted Party secretary, the cocky entrepreneur, the restless young mother. From the individual stories, Gracie and Go create a narrative that seems as much a feature film as a news report. For documenting the human impact of China’s development policies and subtly reminding us that that they differ from the West’s mainly in haste, a Peabody Award goes to White Horse Village.
Executive producer: Richard Porter, Rome Hartman. Producer: Warwick Harrington. Camera/VT Editor: Al Go. Correspondent: Carrie Gracie.