Screening: A Farmer's Struggle and Yak Dung
Part of the film series
Waking the Green Tiger: Documentaries from the Front Lines of China's Environmental Crisis
(August 18-27, 2014)
Double-bill — registration admits to both films below:
A Farmer's Struggle
Dir. Zhao Liang. China. 2009. 30 min. Chinese with English subtitles.
Desertification has been threatening livelihoods in many parts of China. In Minqin, Gansu province, an aging farmer and his wife are the only inhabitants left in this small village that is increasingly swallowed by the advancing desert. Growing up fishing in a local lake that has since dried up, the farmer now has to drive to another village for water. While the government encourages families to move to Xinjiang with the offer of a subsidy, the old couple stays put — at least for now — to defend their home.
Dir. Lanzhe. China. 2010. 50 min. Tibetan with English subtitles.
For nomadic families on the Tibetan Plateau, yak dung is a renewable and readily available energy source for staying warm, making sacrifices and providing light. Yak dung is also used to build homes and fences, fertilize grass, and as a medicinal ingredient, detergent, and material for sculptures. It is an indispensable part of the Tibetan culture and livelihood. Living with yak dung is part of a lifestyle that has coexisted with nature for centuries. But more and more people on the plateau are drifting away from this way of life.
Having never before made a film, director Lanzhe attended film training workshops organized by the Shanshui Conservation Center, a Beijing-based environmental NGO that works in Qinghai, Sichuan, Yunnan, and Shaanxi provinces in western China. Its program “Eyes of the Village Nature and Culture” trains and empowers amateurs to make films to document lives in their own habitats. Many of these trainees, such as Lanzhe, were picking up a camera for the first time in their life.
Q&A to follow with Sun Shan, former Director of the Shanshui Conservation Center. Moderated by Michael Zhao, Multimedia Producer, Center on U.S.-China Relations, Asia Society.