The Land

  • 74'
  • China
  • 2008
In this observing début by the young Chinese photographer and director He Jia (his original, ethnic name; he is also known under the name Wang Haolin), an elderly man from the city is followed as he goes to a Catholic mountain village in a remote area of the country.
He goes there to show the local people photographs. The photographs were taken three years before by his son. We find out next to nothing about the motives of the photographer. With a steady hand, the director films how the man goes round the houses, accompanied by one or other of the villagers in turn, to confront people with their recorded past, and hence also with change. Their reactions are as modest as they are charming and animated and The Land grows, as long as the viewer abandons expectations about dramatic plot developments, into a beautiful portrait of country life.
The expression 'less is more' certainly applies to this mature and uncompromisingly humanist document, a personal study of small-scale emotion in an economically backward area. Only after a village feast sketches a pleasant overall picture of this apparently uncomplicated community at the end of the film, we get to see the photos he has shown. Photos that without the prior images would probably have led to clichéd reactions, but now no longer offer that opportunity. Profundity went on ahead. (GT)



Director
He Jia
Premiere
International premiere
Country of production
China
Production Year
2008
Festival Edition
IFFR 2009
Length
74'
Medium
DV cam PAL
Original title
Dadi
Language
Mandarin
Producer
Wang Yu
Production Company
Ray Production Ltd.
Sales
Ray Production Ltd.
Screenplay
He Jia
Cinematography
He Jia
Editor
He Jia
Production Design
Wang Yu
Sound Design
Yin Fei Long
Cast
Wang Xiang-Jie