Kekexili: Mountain Patrol (PG)
Director: Lu Chuan
Starring: Duo Bujie, Zhang Lei, Qi Lang
China, 2004, 1 hour 35 minutes, subtitles
Set high up in the Himalayas, and based on real-life incidents in the 1990s when poachers reduced the Tibetan antelope population from a million strong to a few thousand, this is an awesomely beautiful ‘Tibetan Western’. The Mountain Patrol is a band of unpaid, ill-equipped local men who take on the dangerous task of tackling the poachers. After a fateful clash in the snowy wastes some of the poachers escape. The charismatic leader of the mountain patrol, Ri Tai decides to pursue them and leads his dwindling band of volunteers on what soon seems like a suicidal chase. An epic tale of men battling against the elements, filmed with a non-professional cast in the most adverse conditions, this gripping tale gives you a taste of the Tibetan wilderness like no other film ever made.
Winner of the Special Jury Prize Tokyo International Film Festival, 2004.