Tea-Horse Road Series: Delamu (2004) (China)

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Tea-Horse Road Series: Delamu (2004) (China)

Postby hengcs » Sat May 07, 2005 11:46 pm


This is a documentary directed by Tian Zhuang Zhuang.
He garnered the Best Director Award in the First Chinese Film Directors' Guild Awards in 2004.

Although it has potential, I think it does not deliver (i.e., in my very humble opinion).

(i) What is good? All the exterior scenes/landscape are very well shot ...
-- BUT unfortunately, there are too few of these scenes ...
-- The beginning and ending are especially cinematographic!
-- Likewise, there is a capture of the renowned "flying rocks and shifting sands". However, it is not exploited further to depict its perilous nature ...

(ii) The 6 or 7 interviewees have interesting/ insightful/ realistic/ depressing stories to tell.
-- However, they appear random and not coherent, without an overall structure or framework to tell a compelling story. Initially, you think it will be able the route, ... but then you start wondering whether it is about Christianity in Delamu ... then you suspect it may be about something else ... then you think it is probably about the kids and education, then you are transferred back to religion and Tibet Buddhism ...
-- In essence, it does not have a compelling story!

(iii) In addition, it may help the audience if the director traces the route for the audience. Sometimes, you think you have started travelling with the people, but at the end of the documentary, you think you are still at the same location all along ... I believe at the end of the documentary, a lot of audience still do not know the route that these people travel ...

(iv) There is not much depiction of historical or cultural relics, if you are hoping to see some ...

In sum, there are a few good scenery and a few good interviews, but as a whole, it is not very compelling ...

My recommendation: "The Silk Road"

If you really want to watch a FANTASTIC documentary, I HIGHLY recommend "The Silk Road" (a collaborative effort by China and Japan in the 1980s). It comprises 30 episodes, with really good cinematography and art direction. Its sountrack is DEFINITELY SUPERB!!! The music by KITARO is MESMERIZING!

After the 30 episodes, you will be impressed with the historical relics and cultural wealth of ancient days ... WOW ...

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