Chinese filmmaker Wang Bing turns to the war-torn northeastern border of Myanmar in Ta’ang, a documentary that follows villagers of the Ta’ang ethnic minority as they flee to China, escaping an escalating civil war. In two refugee camps, some of the displaced attempt to create reasonably safe living conditions; others go deeper into China searching for work in sugarcane fields. Ta’ang captures the constant insecurity, instability, and disorientation that come with life as a refugee as well as the complexities—and emotional toll—of the choices Ta’ang families face.
In Zhang Yang’s latest film, a surrealist take on the classic hero’s journey, Tabei, a murderer’s son, is on the run from two brothers seeking vengeance for their father’s death. After Tabei discovers a magical stone in the mouth of a deer he killed on a hunt, the fugitive cowboy encounters a lama, who tasks him with bringing the stone to a holy mountain as an act of penance. Adapted from novels by the Tibetan author Tashi Dawa, Soul on a String is an epic tale of karma, revenge, and self-discovery set against the backdrop of Tibet’s rolling steppes and scorching deserts.
Twenty-five-year-old Burmese punk musician Kyaw Kyaw is on a mission. He and his band, The Rebel Riot, travel Myanmar playing music and organizing demonstrations to raise awareness about the persecution of the country’s ethnic minorities. The band’s unique blend of ideals—one part Buddhist compassion, two parts punk rock rebellion—fuels their quest for equality and freedom for all in contemporary Myanmar.
Imagine devoting eight hours every day, 365 days a year, to silent contemplation in every task you do. One Mind offers a window onto life at one of China’s most austere and revered Chan monasteries, Zhenru Chan Monastery, whose cloistered monks continue to uphold a strict code established over 1,200 years ago by the founding patriarchs of Chan.
When modernization swept through the Himalayan region of Ladakh, India, in the 1960s, its traditions began to suffocate: its art, language, and ceremonies, even the ways that people related to each other. But one citizen, Morup Namgyal, refused to let Ladakh’s rich cultural heritage disappear entirely. He soon began a project to preserve one slice of the region’s identity: its folk music.