2013, 99 mins, China
Directed by Gu Tao 顾桃
Mandarin Chinese with English subtitles
Gu Tao has spent the past decade documenting the life worlds of the Ewenki people in northeast China, an ethnic minority group of herders and hunters who migrated from Siberia centuries ago to live nomadically in the thick forests of Inner Mongolia. When the Ewenki’s hunting practices were outlawed by the Chinese government in 2003, many were forcibly relocated to government-sponsored settlements, where alcoholism and experiences of alienation took a tremendous toll on the remaining members of the community. In a vivid chronicle of the Ewenki peoples’ struggle for survival amidst China’s rapid social and economic transformations, Gu Tao presents a documentary work of raw realism and imaginative poetic craft. The Last Moose of Aoluguya is an intimate portrait of Weijia, a heavy drinking, soul-searching painter and herder, from the Ewekni people of Inner Mongolia, who nostalgically reflects on all that his people have lost. After Weijia’s life spirals into drunken oblivion, his mother posts a personal ad with the hope that he will find a wife and get his act together. A young schoolteacher, Xia, answers the call and invites Weijia to join her on the tropical island of Hainan in the South China Sea, leading Weijia to suddenly embark on an unexpected new journey in life.
Gu Tao was born in 1970 in Inner Mongolia, China, where his father was an ethnographer and photographer. Gu graduated in 1995 from Inner Mongolia Art College with a major in oil painting. After studying photography at the China Academy of Art in Beijing, he started making documentaries, many of which have won awards at international film festivals (Yamagata 2011, Singapore 2012). Last Moose is the third of his Aoluguya trilogy, which includes Aoluguya, Aoluguya (2008) and Yugou and His Mother (2011, awarded top prize at Yamagata Festival, 2011).
Gu Tao will be joined by Christian Sorace, Li Narangoa, and Wuqirilitu for a Q&A discussion chaired by the experienced author and cultural commentator Linda Jaivin.
Light refreshment will be served at 5.15pm for 5.30pm start; rsvp essential.
This film is part of Asia and the Pacific Screens Season Six: Borderlands, presented by the Australian Centre on China in the World and the ANU Mongolia Institute.