The Saltmen of Tibet (1998)

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For this Swiss-German documentary, filmmaker/Sinologist Ulrike Koch sneaked cameras into Tibet in order to film four men and 160 yak in a 2,000-year-old ritual -- the annual spring pilgrimage to gather raw salt at remote lakes, a three-month Himalayan trek. Camping along the way, they engage in prayers, talk, and songs. Following nomadic traditions, the saltmen make the return trip with salt in backpacks made from yak pelts. In addition to Tibetan chanting, the film's music includes a post-production blend of Hamburg musicians and native Tibetans. After a digital video transfer to film, the 108-minute documentary was shown at several 1997 film festivals, including (Sundance, Vienna, Taormina, and Pusan).

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