In the multiple award winning Mountain Patrol: Kekexili (Kekexili, 2004), the remote Tibetan wilderness is being ravaged by poachers.
A group of ecologists form a volunteer patron in 1993 to protect the endangered Tibetan antelope.
Many of these patrolers have been killed by poachers in the years since, as they are men who treat humans as easily as they treat nature with extreme savagery.
A Beijing reporter Ga Yu (Zhang Lei) meets with the Patrol leader Ri Tai (played by native actor "Tobgyal in Mandarin named Duo Bujie) & expresses his desire to help get the region declared a nature reserve.
The most warrior-like patroler, Liu Dong (Qi Liang), weeps for the slain, then arms himself before setting out for the poachers' territory, meaning the antelope breeding grounds.
Despairing of the devastation, at one killing ground alone there lay the remains of five hundred skinned antelopes. Danger & horror abound.
At any moment a poacher can turn sniper & shoot at the patrol. Heroism is real but occasionally ambiguous, as even with good intentions mistakes are made.
Death is god even for the criminals. The death of a young skinner is one of the film's most poignant moments.
Skinners are indigenous people low in the social order of a criminal world; they are not the primary villains. But they're easiest to catch, while Chinese ringleaders evade capture for years.
Liu Dong's horrific fate pretty much exemplifies the depth of tragedies, unfolding as the Patrol dares the worst possible conditions in a frustrated bad-choice of forging onward to find the poachers.
The reporter at least gets out alive to tell the tale, & just maybe to awaken public consciousness. And indeed, this film so well informed the public that the Chinese government raised the priority on protecting the endangered Tibetan antelope, which even became China's symbol of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Set between 1993 and 1996, based on a true story, it really does play out like a medieval warrior tale, but for the sake of animals. It is further upraised by a soundtrack of exquisit beauty.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl