Visitors to Beijing get so easily caught up in its flash and modernity – towering skyscrapers, Bugatti dealerships on every corner – that they forget they’re actually in an ancient city. It’s not hard to understand why, of course: most of the old capital is gone, either cleared for new building or “improved” to look more like a theme park than a living, breathing metropolis. The documentary “New Beijing: Reinventing a City,” which screens Sunday at New York’s Asia Society, explores the tensions of preservation and development in 21st-century Beijing through the eyes of the activists and architects working to shape the city in the new millennium. Directed by the Australian filmmaker Georgia Wallace-Crabbe, “New Beijing” offers a view of the capital as it was and could be – for better and for worse.

The trailer for “New Beijing: Reinventing a City.”

Sunday, Oct. 2 at 3 p.m.
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