In the Wild Mountains | Chicago Reader

In the Wild Mountains

In this 1985 Chinese film, two peasant brothers—one mercurial and adventurous, the other oafish and resistant to change—come to realize that each is more temperamentally compatible with the other's wife after a government edict frees them to make money on their own. Director Yan Xueshu turns this unlikely premise into a pastorale about changing social mores, questioning the charms of a market economy that has turned peasants into coin counters. Cinematographer Mi Anqing lovingly records the small pleasures of life in a village whose farm huts and mountains seem to have survived centuries of toil, richly articulating the rural realism that was a pet cause of China's “Fifth Generation” filmmakers.

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