“Reconstructing the God-Fearing Community”: Filming Tibet in the Twenty-First Century

Donghui He

in Chinese Ecocinema

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9789622090866
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882206724 | DOI:
“Reconstructing the God-Fearing Community”: Filming Tibet in the Twenty-First Century

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This chapter discusses recent documentary-style film representations of Tibetan ecology by experimental-mainstream Chinese director Tian Zhuangzhuang and Tibetan director Wanma Caidan, focusing on the ways they shape perceptions of the Tibetan religion and relate it to ecological connectedness in the everyday setting. It begins with an overview of the changed environmental discourse in mainstream Chinese documentary-style film, starting in the late 1980s before massive industrialization programs were launched in China. It proceeds to Tian Zhuangzhuang's subtitled documentary Delamu (2004), used as an example of the evolving mainstream aesthetic background against which Wanma presents his work. It then analyzes Wanma Caidan's two Tibetan-language documentary-style fiction films, The Grassland (2003) and The Silent Holy Stone (2005), in correspondence to his two-phase redefinition of Tibetan culture.

Keywords: documentary; Tibetan ecology; Tian Zhuangzhuang; Wanma Caidan; Tibetan religion; Delamu; The Grassland; The Silent Holy Stone; Tibetan culture

Chapter.  8332 words. 

Subjects: Film

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