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Winter Pastures

Zhu Jingjiang

Release year: 2020

Run time: 55 minutes

Film type: Documentary


Winter Pastures is an ethnographic documentary, so it focuses more on the presentation of everyday life. But the pre-modern lifestyle of the region offers a diversity that appeals to the senses, especially the sense of free of pastoral production and the local, manual labour of the Kazakhs. They both with a unique sensuality. I relied on handheld present as much of the richness of the scene as possible and the mobility of the herders' labour and migration.


Director biography

Zhu Jingjiang is professor of the School of Ethnology and Sociology, PhD supervisor, ethnographic film maker. He holds a Ph.d in Anthropology, Peking University. He is also the director of the Research Centre for Anthropology of Film and Television at the Central University for Nationalities. He has produced ethnographic documentaries such as "The Seven Sacred Temples", "Winter Pastures" and "Harmony with the Light", and published academic and cultural books such as "The Light of the Fields", "In the Wild and Watching", "The Fragrance of the Ink-Dyed Horseshoe" and "The Hometown Looks Back at the Pale".

Director's statement

In recent years, as the field of visual anthropology has become more familiar to scholars and young practitioners in China, a number of excellent works, especially non-fiction works, have been produced with a clear focus on human and ethnographic culture. Although the category to which these works belong is not yet widely known to the public and meanwhile a more inclusive aesthetic approach to the content and appeal of these works are still up in the air at the popular level. It still relies on the great value of culture as moving image and the creators' own deep affection for culture, holding on to a unique space of meaning and practice in the field of 'moving image'. Ethnic minority culture is one of the distinctive focuses of Chinese ethnographic documentaries. The earliest practice of video documentation, which began with the understanding of minority cultures, has evolved through successive generations. One aspect of this development can be seen in the equipment used for filming, one aspect in the filming techniques and approaches, and one aspect in the relationship between the filmmaker and the culture of the field. Particularly important to our exhibition is the slow and insidious 'Gan Jue (sensory/feeling/perception/atmosphere)' changes in the specific minority cultures that are captured and preserved by these video practices as they change over time in a state between the traditional and modern, as well as the photographers' own Gan Jue forms, structures, and characteristics as they come into contact with and integrate themselves into the specific minority cultures, as carriers of human culture. The Gan Jue form, structure and nature of their own are intentionally reflected in the images. Winter Pastures that is featured in this exhibition is an anthropological documentary focusing on the culture of China's ethnic minorities. The film was produced by Chinese anthropologist and ethnographic film director Professor Zhu Jingjiang in 2006, who was involved in observing the winter pastoral life of the Kazakhs after locating the field site at the winter pasture of Aheyazigou, Kashagar Township, Zhaosu County, Ili Prefecture, Xinjiang. The film presents both the Chinese Gan Jue characteristics of the Kazakhs as they live in the transition zone between tradition and modernity, and the unintentionally highlighted, Chinese Gan Jue tructure of the filmmaker's own experience of multiple forms of culture at the same time.