"BEIJING — The artist and filmmaker Zhao Liang has shed light on some of the darkest corners of Chinese society, filming in locations as obscure as a shantytown here known as the 'petitioners’ village' and a military police office on the North Korean border.
But for his latest project, the director has focused his lens on a more visible social issue in China — so much more visible that he first spotted it while studying a satellite map.
'I knew I wanted to make a film about the environment, so in 2011, I spent about a year driving around China to see what was out there,' Mr. Zhao said in an interview in his studio here. 'When I was in Inner Mongolia, I was looking at the map and this area was black. I couldn’t see it very clearly, because there was all this thick smog from the coal mines.'"