Fan shan (Crossing the Mountain)

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Filmmaker Yang Hui uses a series of surreal images and situations to illustrate life in a nation hobbled by war in this offbeat drama. Set in the border country where China and Burma meet, Fan Shan (aka Crossing The Mountain) follows the actions of the Wa people, as young people try to make sense of a place and a culture that has been devastated by years of conflict. A man cuts his television in half with a saw, people play Blind Man's Bluff without making any effort to find their partners, soldiers march through the wilderness oblivious to suffering around them, locals spin tales of bloodthirsty cannibal tribes that may still be in hiding, aging Russian weapons appear which still possess deadly force, and the owner of a pet pig tries to persuade the creature to fatten up. While there is a humorous undercurrent to some of these moments, overall the film presents a curious place where people are caught between the past and present and dominated by a conflict that doesn't bring victory to either side. Crossing The Mountain was an official selection at the 2010 Berlin International Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


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