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Zero Thousand Li Under the Clouds and Moon

Andrew Yusu Cheng

Release year: 2013

Run time: 83 mins

Film type: Fiction


The film is based on a true story, or rather, three true stories. The first story: a woman writer, orphaned at birth, befriends an old woman from Shanghai who had been married to a man from the Tibetan region of Yushu in Qinghai Province and moved to live there. The writer soon addresses the old woman as “godmother”. The old woman dies peacefully in meditation on her trip to Shanghai for the writer’s interview. In her will, she asks the writer to take a chain of red prayer beads to her guru in Yushu so that he can release her soul from purgatory. In the second story, Dawei is diagnosed with cancer and has only three months to live. He remembers his promise to his university friend Xiangzi that they should see each other again before they die. Xiangzi is based in Yushu and has been working there as a teacher for more than twenty years. In the third story, Xiaobao had developed a strong interest in extra-terrestrials and UFOs since childhood. He is told by ETs in a dream that they will take him away from the earth if he travels to Yushu. The three stories intersect and intertwine when the three people meet, get to know each other, and then depart on the ancient Tangbo Road which leads to Yushu. The ever-changing clouds on the Tibetan Plateau accompany their journeys and they clean and purify the mortal world.


Director biography

Since 1997, Andrew Yusu Cheng has been a key initiator of the Chinese DV film movement. His films Shanghai Panic and Welcome to Destination Shanghai were screened at over 30 film festivals, won prestigious prizes at Rotterdam (Grand Prix FIPRESCI), Vancouver ( Dragons and Tigers), Berlin (Nomination Award), exhibited at MoMA, the Lincoln Centre, and the Centre Georges Pompidou, and broadcast on BBC, Channel Four, CBS, and China’s Central Television Station.

In 2014,Andrew Cheng’s road movie Zero Thousand Li under the Clouds and Moon was listed in Time Out’s 100 Best Chinese Films of All Time , as voted by international experts on Chinese cinema.

Andrew Yusu Cheng is the recipient of Australian Prime Minister’s Australia-Asia Endeavour Award, and holds a PhD in Film and Television from the Victorian College of the Arts, the University of Melbourne, as well as a PhD in Chinese Philosophy and Buddhism from Peking University. He is currently is a Senior Research Fellow in the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, Monash University, Australia.