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China: Between Clouds and Dreams

S1-E5 For a Better Future

S1-E5 For a Better Future

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Review

This is unlike any other documentary series, and its style – perhaps tailored to the Chinese co-producers – takes some getting used to. But it delivers extraordinary snapshots of life at the fringes of the country, where we meet people – a monk, a reporter, a group of schoolchildren – fighting small but important battles to halt environmental destruction.

That may sound worthy, but the mixture of amazing landscape photography and close reportage is potent. We go on a raid with reporter Xu and his porpoise charity as he tries to stop disastrous (and illegal) electric fishing in Hunan. But then the People’s Daily national newspaper denounces his work, and the seemingly tough Xu shows he is not made of stone.

Summary

The documentary exploring the private side of life in China concludes, as novice monk Gama begins his studies at the country's largest Tibetan monastery. Wumingsi is home to 20,000 monks and nuns, and Gama befriends one who is dedicated to saving the rare snow leopard. In central China, reporter Xu leads a band of volunteers in a desperate struggle against `electro-fishing', which involves the mass killing of fish using electricity. However, Xu's struggle results in a humiliating personal attack against him by the People's Daily. Meanwhile, in Beijing, four young journalists eagerly await the results of a national competition. Last in the series.

Cast & Crew

Director Phil Agland
Editor Jon Walker
Producer Phil Agland

Documentary

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