Director: Yu Guangyi / Original title: Guanggun 光棍 / Year: 2011 / Country: China / Runtime: 95 mins
For over 100 years, people have made a living from the forests of China’s mountainous north, but new environmental regulations have put a stop to logging. Only a handful of timber men remain; the rest – and pretty much all of the women – have left for greener pastures. San Liangzi, a rugged and industrious worker, scratches a living doing odd jobs. For years, the lonely divorcée has nurtured a crush on Wei Meizi, the last single woman in town, who runs an inn with her elderly parents. San’s friends tell him to forget her and take a North Korean wife, but he’s adamant in his affections and blind to her reluctance. Director Yu Guangyi (hailed by Variety as ‘one of the world’s superior nonfiction filmmakers’) documents their doomed relationship against the backdrop of a changing society with tenderness, remarkable frankness and much humour.” (Sydney Film Festival 2012)
“In the forests of Heilongjiang Province, the top north of China, timber supplies have dwindled after a century of logging, and most of the local men have lost their livelihoods. Meanwhile, the allure of better jobs in nearby cities has led to an outflow of local women, resulting in a “bachelor mountain” populated by legions of lonely, impoverished, single men.
Living in a world of extreme loneliness, San Liangzi, a forty-six-year-old logger who lost his job and wife twelve years ago, has been secretly enamoured of Wang Meizi, the only single woman in the village for over ten years. Doing unpaid chores for her has brought pleasure to his life. He enjoys the illusion of love, which gives him warmth in the tough environment and let his soul fly over the harsh reality” (Festival Millenium)
“For the solitary lumberjacks of Heilongjiang’s Changbai mountain range, located in the extreme northeast of China, life has become almost unsustainable. New environmental regulations protecting exhausted forests have forced most of the local men out of work. Meanwhile, the allure of better jobs in nearby cities has led to an outflow of local women. The result is a “bachelor mountain” populated by legions of lonely, impoverished, single men.
San Liangzi, an unemployed logger and jack-of-all trades, has been divorced for 12 years. He seems naive, sweet, almost simple-minded in his obsessive crush on a young woman named Meizi, for whom he does unpaid chores and construction work at her family’s inn. She seems aware of his affections but, for reasons of her own, won’t reciprocate. She is tough and ambitious: she’s building an “environmental tourism” inn with Meizi’s help. When it is finished, she welcomes busloads of the new young urban middle-class Chinese tourists, who try to commune with nature through ritual fire-dancing and singing. (Vancouver International Film Festival)
Director Yu Guangyi
Producer Han Lei
Cinematographer Yu Guangyi, Yu Qiushi
Editor Yu Guangyi, Yu Qiushi, Bao Wei
World Sales Yu Guangyi
PRODUCTION & FUNDING
An SMG production. Produced by Han Lei.
ON THE WEB
FESTIVALS & AWARDS
. Hong Kong International Film Festival, World Premiere: March 28, 2011 Humanitarian Awards for Documentaries
. 2011 (30th) Vancouver International Film Festival Oct-Nov 2011 International Premiere
. 2011 (12th) TOKYO FILMeX – November 19- 27, 2011 – TOKYO FILMeX Competition
. 2012 (41st) International Film Festival Rotterdam – January 25-February 5, 2012 – Signals: Hidden Histories
. 2012 (13th) Jeonju International Film Festival – April 26-May 4, 2012 – World Cinema
. Festival Millenium, Brussels, April – May 2012 (Panorama – The unknown face of china)
. Sydney Film Festival, June 2012 (International Documentaries)
ARTICLES & REVIEWS
. Documenting China through ordinary people’s lives (china.org, 9/02/2012)
. Koehler: “Reinforcing his position as one of the world’s superior nonfiction filmmakers, Yu Guangyi completes a landmark docu trilogy with the exquisitely observed and touching “Bachelor Mountain.” Rounding out what came before with the rough-and-ready “Timber Gang” and the intense character study “Survival Song,” Yu’s look at the life and impossible love of a hardscrabble logger/laborer is his most emotionally felt work and, if fests are paying attention, should get Yu some worldwide love.”
Smith: Yu Guangyi’s Bachelor Mountain peels one more layer back from the façade built around the international notion of modern China. With a sharp eye for the punishing and perfunctory realities of life in the Changbai Mountins, Yu reveals humanity without exploitation or device. Men are beasts of burden up for hire, and the climate measures up to an unspoken endurance test of keeping warm–neither of these are opinions, but frank facts of the blunt images far from the financial centers of China’s economic dragon.
. Review Variety (16/10/2011)
. Review Twitch Film (4/10/2011)
. Corrosive Obsession – Yu Guangyi’s Bachelor Mountain (screeningchina, 19/06/2011)
ON ADN WEBSITE