"The 'Tea Horse Route' is the highest and most perilous of China's ancient trading routes, originating in western Yunnan, ascending the Tibetan plateau, winding through the Himalayas into Nepal, Bhutan and India. Tea was carried along this route by pack-mules for more than two millennia, and mule-packers still negotiate the narrow dirt-tracks and impossible mountain passes - nowadays, though, carrying construction materials for the coming road which is going to obliterate traditional ways of life in the region. "Armed with high-definition cameras, Tian Zhuangzhuang (MIFF 03 guest) set out to document the origins of this route. The images of the region's topography are as spectacular as you'd expect from the director of Horse Thief... but Tian is, of course, more interested in the people than the place. He pauses to record interviews with those he meets along the way: a Christian pastor from the Lisu tribe, a 104-year-old woman who's outliving her own bad memories, a young, bigamous Tibetan, and the owner of Delamu, a hardy mule whose name means 'Angel of Peace' in Tibetan. Fascinating beyond words." - Tony Rayns, London Film Festival---D/S Tian Zhuangzhuang P Takahiro Hamano, Yang Zhao WS Fortissimo Films L Chinese w/English subtitles TD 35mm/col/2004/110mins Tian Zhuangzhuang was born in Beijing, China in 1952. His films include [The Horse Thief] (1986), [The Blue Kite] (1993), [Springtime in a Small Town] (MIFF 2003).