Entertainment Advent Calendar 2022: Kekexili: Mountain Patrol

At the top edge of the world poachers are slaughtering Tibetian Antelopes to extinction. Vigilante rangers go out on long patrols to stop them. Some of these patrolmen won’t return home for years. An embedded reporter wants to shed light on the ranger’s fight. Also, this all really happened and is only lightly fictionalized.  

Mountain Patrol is a gorgeous movie filmed entirely on location at the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau Utilizing wide shots in an almost documentary style the area is harsh and beautiful. 

By accident or design, Mountain Patrol borrows from the film language of the western genre. From the landscape, to the frontier lifestyle, to the occasional face off of men with guns. I don’t know if director Lu Chuan has acknowledged the western genre as an influence but it is there. The director has another film, The Missing Gun, indicates at least a passing knowledge of genre ideas from the west. At least in Mountain Patrol, Lu Chuan asserts himself as a Chinese John Ford.

This harsh, violent land shapes the people that live there in its image. The human moments are as stark as the landscape and hit the viewer with devastating power. In the middle of nowhere everything is a battle between life and death. A flat tire, running out of supplies, or surrounded by men with guns. 

This is a real hidden gem.

Keeping in mind that Mountain Patrol isn’t an action genre movie, here’s the trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHeQdNruOXY

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