February 12, 2007
A grim movie of high-altitude wildlife protection
KeKexili: Mountain Patrol is simply stark.
Stark plot, stark scenery, stark cinematography. As stark as one of John Ford's classic Monument Valley Westerns.
Its plot is based on recent history on the Tibetan Plateau, where a rag-tag group of volunteer game wardens attempted to stop poachers killing Tibetan antelope for their fur, which is woven into soft, luxurious cloth: shahtoosh.
It was made in 2004 by National Geographic Films, who have been criticized for soft-pedaling the Chinese takeover of Tibet. On the other hand, without Chinese government cooperation, Mountain Patrol could never have been filmed on location.
Watch the trailer.
A warning: The film's first five minutes are pretty brutal. M. walked out. But after that the story takes over.