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Survival Song

Yu Guangyi

Release year: 2008

Run time: 90 min

Film type: Documentary


This documentary, which focuses on a hunting couple in the cold, snowy northeast of China, is trying to preserve the disappearing culture of the lumberjack. The director documents how an unemployed forest ranger maintains his family by illegally hunting wild boar and other small game. Together with his wife, the ranger Han lives in a rickety wooden hut in the wilderness. There is no electricity or mains water. Their little daughter is at school in the town. Han has to work hard, but is not dissatisfied. When his jack of all trades, Xiao Li, leaves him in the lurch without a reason, Han decides to take him on again anyway. Then China’s unstoppable industrialisation finally reaches this backwater and a large water reservoir is built close to Han's home. In vain, the couple resist their enforced departure. The corrupt government plays an unexpected trump card and the family falls apart.


Director biography

Yu Guangyi was born in 1961 in China's northeastern Heilongjiang Province. After graduating from the Chinese Academy of Art in Hangzhou, he worked for many years as a woodblock print artist. He began making independent documentary films in 2004. His first film was Mu Bang (Timber Gang).