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Gongbo's Happy Life

Ji Dan

Release year: 1999

Run time: 82 mins

Film type: Documentary


Gongbo is an ordinary peasant living in Tibet whose life is simple and plain. He works, provides for the whole family, and raises children. Just like anyone else in the world, Gongbo has to manage various life pressures, such as his hope for another son after his wife has born six consecutive daughters, his anxiety about the debt due to the bank for buying a tractor, and his disappointment over his son’s failure to earn as much money as expected from working in town.

However, Gongbo will never be overwhelmed by these troubles since life also brings him friends, the enjoyment of sunlight, and the calmness of the night. Gongbo appreciates nature and life, which can be recognized from his face and felt in his songs. If a happy life is represented by hope and satisfaction, and if happiness only means a fulfilled heart and calmness deep inside, then Gongbo is happy.


Director biography

Born in 1963 in Heilongjiang. After graduating from Beijing Normal University, Ji Dan spent time in Japan from 1988, studying at Yokohama National University and at Kyoto Seika University. She later joined Asia Press International and in 1994 began producing independent documentaries. The Elder (1999), a film about Tibetan farmers, was shown at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and the Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival. Ji has also filmed many documentary programs for NHK television. She participated in the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival in 2003, as producer of the Ogawa Shinsuke Prize-winning . Wellspring (2002). Her . Dream of the Empty City (2007) was produced with support from the Pusan International Film Festival AND Fund.