In this contemplative film about life, death and survival, Ma Zishan, an ageing Hui-Chinese from Ningxia province, is facing a dilemma. His wife, beloved by everyone in the village, has died and tradition demands that a ceremony is held for her forty days later. But Ma Zishan doesn’t know how he can pay for the ceremony. His son encourages him to slaughter their last bull for the guests, but he finds it difficult to say even more farewells. 
Knife in the Clear Water shows the uncompromising life of the Hui, Chinese Muslims who live simply off the land. The fact that in his debut Wang Xuebo allowed himself to be inspired by Tarkovski and painters Andrew Wyeth and Jean-François Millet can be seen in the painterly interiors, the 4:3 format and the tranquil, long shots of misty, mountainous northern China.

Original title
Qingshui li de daozi
Filmmaker
Wang Xuebo
Premiere
European premiere
Country
China
Year
2016
Medium
DCP
Length
93’
Language
Chinese
Producer
Wang Xuebo, Chen Cheng, Chen Jian, Wang Zijian
Production Company
Beijing Ocean & Time Culture Communication Co., Ltd., Zhejiang Jiashang Film and Media Co., Ltd., Sichuan Branch Ning Xia Ming Dao Culture Development Co., Ltd., Blackfin (Beijing) Culture & Media Co.
Sales
Asian Shadows
Writer
based on a novel by Shi Shuqing, Wang Xuebo, Ma Jinlian, Ma Yue
Cinematography
Wang Weihua
Editor
Guo Xiaodong, Liao Chingsong, Wang Xuebo
Production Design
Yang Wei
Sound Design
Fu Kang
Cast
Yang Shengcang, Yang Shengcang, Zhou Jinhua, Yang Fan, Yang Xue