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.


Anonymous said...

This sounds like a good movie. Anything with the Tibetan landscape catches my attention no matter how bad the plot (not saying this one will be bad, looks interesting actually.) The scene in the trailer brought back the image of the buffalo carcasses on the plain from Dances With Wolves. It always fascinates me when the western world discovers something about the development of China in modern times that reflects back to our own past.

How about the wild raccoon/dogs that China is selling to the world as fur. I first heard this one on the radio last week---I guess they will now have to tame the little guys and create farms in which to “legally” harvest them. I doubt any of this will deter the entrepreneurs from passing it off as chinchilla and such!

http://www.impactpress.com/articles/winter06/moorewinter06.html (am now having some trouble getting the hyperlink to work--this is linked to the word "fur" above in paragraph 2.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comment, Chas. It sounds like we definitely saw the same movie. Stephen has a good readership. I keep my posts short, 150 words, sort of a haiku review, since there's so much depth on the web about movies. I've got some longer things up, too, but more specific, including a series on the career of Dennis Hopper, categorized as 'Hopperopolis.'