Xizang director gets nod to shoot new movie ‘Snow Leopard’ to explore relationship between man and nature
Published: Mar 23, 2022 06:27 PM
A snow leopard is seen in an undated infrared photo taken in Mount Qomolangma National Nature Reserve in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region.(Photo: Xinhua)

A snow leopard is seen in an undated infrared photo taken in Mount Qomolangma National Nature Reserve in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region.(Photo: Xinhua)

 Stories about the Xizang Autonomous Region are continuing to be told by Chinese director Pema Tseden through his beautiful cinematography.

Chinese netizens expressed their excitement when the news hit that Pema Tseden, who belongs to China's Tibetan ethnic minority group, had received approval to film his newest movie Snow Leopard. The 52-year-old director told the Global Times on Wednesday that he also wrote the movie and that filming will begin soon.

The movie shows how people can live in harmony with wild animals, specifically the rare snow leopard from the title. 

According to a brief introduction to the film, the story delves into a conflict between a father and a son after a snow leopard kills nine of a herder's goats - the son wants to kill the leopard, but the father insists on letting the animal go.

"I heard a related story two or three years ago and could not forget it. It lingered in my mind for a long time, so I decided to write the story," Pema Tseden told the Global Times.

He added that the script was written very quickly during the COVID-19 outbreak during the Spring Festival of 2020.

People of the Tibetan ethnic group, especially those who live in the region that is the source of the Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang rivers, usually have to face the problem of how to live in harmony with wild animals as the region is home to numerous natural areas untouched by man.

To raise awareness about these animals and environmental protection, some herders have taken up cameras to document these creatures' lives and share them with people. 

Three herders told the Global Times they once spent 35 days shooting a snow leopard mother nursing her cubs outside a cave that a local herder discovered while picking caterpillar fungus.

Luo Luo, a film critic in Beijing, told the Global Times that Pema Tseden's new work could have a similar impact on wild animal conservation and is sure to make audiences think about how they would deal with the situation facing the father and the son in the film. 

"Such a film can awaken the love and concern to the nature in our hearts," Luo said. "I am longing to see the connections between human and animals displayed in the movie and change of the family brought about from the animal."

Pema Tseden is known for his ability to tell stories about the Tibetan ethnic minority. His previous Xizang-themed works such as Balloon and Jinpa have made a splash at many domestic and overseas film festivals.

Pema Tseden is not the only Chinese director to get approval to film a movie. 

Zhang Yimou, famous Chinese director who just finished directing the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, is working on a new period piece.

Set during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), Zhang's new movie will feature real historical figures such as the notorious politician Qin Hui, according to the brief introduction.

Zhang said that producing the movie has been a huge challenge for him, while lots of Chinese moviegoers have high expectations for the film, especially after Zhang did a stunning job at Beijing 2022.

Another director Wen Muye will begin shooting a film about a Chinese hero who saved children in a country in the Middle East, showing how an ordinary person can also become a hero.