Nation’s ethnic minority villages enter the spotlight
New documentary tells stories of improved life
Published: May 31, 2023 10:21 PM
Photo: Courtesy of Mango TV

Photo: Courtesy of Mango TV

Melodious and lingering folk songs from the Yao people, an energetic bear fighting dance by the Oroqen people, the drama Zhuangjiaqi from the Tu people… The documentary series Amid Lucid Waters and Lush Mountains that is currently airing on China's Mango TV is like a vivid picture of the development and rural revitalization taking place among China's ethnic minority groups. 

The documentary features a number of ethnic groups and tells the stories of their improved economic situation and the beautiful regions in which they live. 

"Lucid waters and lush mountains are where people of all ethnic groups live happily. We hope to capture their happy moments and touching stories about how they revitalized their rural regions according to local conditions," Sun Lu, the series' director told the Global Times on Monday, noting that she aims to use "small stories to tell big truths and small potatoes to show great wisdom."

In order to uncover these stories, 10 research groups set out one after another, traveling from an ancient Yao village in the mountains of Central China's Hunan Province to an art village in the Xing'an Mountains of Northeast China. 

During their year of research, they visited over 300 persons from over 10 ethnic groups in 11 provinces and autonomous regions across the country. In the end, the show will focus on the stories of 22 people from eight ethnic groups, including the Dongxiang, Qiang and Dai. 

Sun said she believes that "wonderful stories come from solid research" and sincere communication. 

"Seeing them as friends, we walk into their life, talk to them and capture the most evocative stories and emotions," said Sun. 

"And this is the simplest and most direct way to make a good documentary. There are no shortcuts." 

Although there was hardships during the trip, Sun and her teams found "happiness, hospitality and kindness." Each person in these villages always greeted them with a smile and invited them to visit their homes. 

"The kind of happiness we saw on their faces can't be hidden. It was heartfelt joy for a prosperous life. It was the most authentic manifestation of rural revitalization," recalled Sun. 

In Yuhu village, Southwest China's Yunnan Province, they met a group of children who loved playing soccer. Thanks to the support of local policy, standard soccer fields have been built in villages so villagers can run on the field and enjoy the joy of scoring goals. 

"We saw the light in the eyes of the children, and saw the light and hope that rural revitalization brought to these children," said Sun. 

More and more young people are devoting their efforts to help build up their hometowns after returning from studying in major cities. Yan Wenjiao, a young man from the Dai ethnic group, transformed an old wall into art as well as worked to integrate art and local culture, which led to an increase in income for local villagers. 

Qi Xuejing, a young woman from the Tu ethnic group, used a panoramic VR to record "the world's longest carnival," the Tu Nadun Festival, which celebrates the harvest time over a period of 60 days. 

There are numerous such moments and stories that have created long-lasting memories for Sun and her crew. Smiles coming from the bottom of people's hearts and people striving for a better future are the very foundation of the series. Just like the film crew envisioned, the power of the camera can freeze every sweet moment in time, record every story of rural revitalization and witness the happy life of all the people.