On the Hunting Ground


Time Out says

Tian's portrait of the herdsmen of the Inner Mongolian steppes centres on the ancient code (the zasag) which governs their lives as hunter gatherers. Much of the film could easily pass for documentary, alternating domestic scenes with hunting scenes in which numerous small, furry animals are blasted with shotguns. The very minimal plot concerns a huntsman who infringes the code and is required to do both social and religious penance; the complete absence of explanations has rendered the film opaque to most audiences. But it's clear enough that Tian is (as in Horse Thief) interested in the contrast between living by a code and trangressing it - and it's not much of a stretch to see this as an alienated metaphor for his own generation's faith in, and later rejection of, Maoism.

By: TR


Release details

66 mins

Cast and crew

Tian Zhuangzhuang
Jiang Hao
Tigen Yiwai
Sewang Dalgi
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