Documentary films about the Naxi


Naxi People in Yanjing - 2009 - 30 min.

Directed by Liu Feina para Aljazeera International.

Liu’s documentary tells the story of three generations of Naxi women producing salt in Yanjing, a town in Tibet famous for its salt production as well as its religious diversity

Naxi Reflections - 2009 - 24 episodes of 25 min.

Taking 4 years and costing more than RMB 4 million in its production, NAXI REFLECTION is a high-quality documentary series faithfully recording in a cultural anthropoligical point of view, the life and culture of the Naxi, an ethnic group living in northwest Yunnan province of China.

To the production team of this documentary, their highest priority in 2008 is to introduce this series to the world through domestic and foreign media, so as to contribute to preservation of the traditional culture and heritage of the Naxi community.

Each documentary of this series focuses on one aspect of the Naxi culture, such as language, religion, custom, and habits. In this meaning, this series covers almost all aspects of the Naxi ethnic group, including the people, their life, the place they live, and it leads to you to a journey to the life of the Naxi people, the mountains and rivers they live by, and their unique culture and folkways.

Eya Naxi People - 2008 - 39 min

Directed by Kuang Junjie、Wu Guoyao

In the remote mountain of Muli town of Sichuan province, there is a Naxi ethnic group called Eya, where the villagers from birth to death always cleaved to Naxi people’s traditional custom of production, living and religion.
The documentary Eya Naxi People is trying to present the story of Naxi ethnic group from the view of anthropology dramatically by taking them as a great social living fossil of the unusual marriage custom, strange funeral, and the great antiquity of the Ming Dynasty.

Every Seventh Person - 2006 - 75 min.

A film by Elke Groen and Ina Ivanceanu (Austria/Luxembourg)

Chinese and Naxi (with German subtitles)

Every seventh person in the world is a Chinese farmer. Between 2002 and 2005 the filmmakers Elke Groen and Ina Ivanceaneau carried out numerous interviews in three Chinese villages documenting everyday life ¨C without any censorship whatsoever. At the same time the inhabitants of the villages shot their own short films about their surroundings, their hopes and their dreams ¨C short films that have become part of ¡°Every Seventh Person¡±. The result is an exceptional documentary film that provides insight into life in China away from the urban and industrial centres ¨C a life between socialism and market economy in which the villages become the testing grounds for democracy and self-determination.

Between 2002 and 2005 Ina Ivanceanu and Elke Groen carried out research and filmed in Beisuzha, San Yuan and Jiangjiazhai: San Yuan (502 inhabitants, located in the province of Yunnan in south-west China in the Himalayan foothills) has only been accessible by surfaced road since 2003 and now an entrepreneur is planning a tourism project: a deer park for which the community has sacrificed a lot of arable land is to offer visitors from the surrounding cities rest and relaxation. Here the inhabitants do not speak Mandarin but Naxi and their almost-forgotten writing and water gods are rediscovered here.

Homeland - 2006 - 68 min.

Directed by: Yi Fan

Eya is the home to Naxi villagers who uphold traditional livelihoods and religious practices. After the wheat harvest, Father's son leaves their mountain village to find work. Father must tend to the farm in addition to his dongba ritual duties as he struggles with drought, the passing away of a dear friend and illness in the family.

E-Ya Village - 2006

Liu Wei and Mike Nethercott

An eighteen-minute documentary film recording the conditions of the people of E'ya. E'ya is an ethnic Naxi village of 2,000 people deep in the mountainous west of Sichuan bordering on Yunnan. While the cultural hub of Naxi, who, according to Dr Joseph Lock the legendary doctor-turned-anthropologist, boast the only living hieroglyphic language in the world, is centered in Lijiang, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site attracting over 2 million tourists a year, this isolated Naxi tribal community continues to practice a combination of polyandry, polygamy, monogamy, multi-husband/multi-wife matrimony, and Anda ( Naxi for 'friend'), a euphemism for socially accepted out-of-wedlock sexual relationships. And Dong-Ba, the traditional Naxi religion whose rituals are now only staged for tourism in Lijiang, is still very much a part of everyday E'ya life. Fascinating as it may appear to anthropology, the 'preservation' of this culture is clearly the result of sheer poverty, its annual cash income per capita being only 500RMB, or $65. There is no road leading to the village and most of the population there has never seen a wheeled vehicle.

The Festival on the Stone - 2006 - 59 min

Directed by Yang Huilong

A look at the life in a Naxi Village located on top of a huge boulder.

Trekking in the Wind and Rain - 2005 - 76 min.

Directed by: Mu Xiaoqiao

In a Naxi village a new life was brought into the world; at the same time, in the very same village, another life was leaving it. Birth and death are inextricably bound in a cosmic cycle of creation and destruction, and are preordained by fate in the spirits world. Trekking in the Wind and Rain is the first documentary to record Naxi "Sending off the spirits" rites and cremation rituals.

A Country Woman's Cultural Life - 2004 - 42 min.

Directed by: Mu Xiaoqiao

An open air screening of a film is organized by the political team in charge of Culture, Science and Technology, and Medical Care in the remote mountain area surrounding Lijiang. When Yulan, a country woman, finds out about the show, she races back home to her village to tell everyone the news, feed the pigs, cook dinner and get the kid ready. We watch her as her whole day is permeated by her rising excitement of going to the movies. This film is not a depiction of a form of popular culture, but rather a tribute to a dying cinematic experience.

Dongba He - 2000

Directed by: Bao jiang and Ai Juhong

The film was made in the northwestern part of Yunnan Province , on the Lijiang high plateau, home of the Naxi, a Tibeto-Burmese ethnic group. Its main protagonist is He Limin, who works as a researcher at the Lijiang Dangba Research Center . Being and active Dongba, he is also reknowned as now of the main Naxi cultural activists. The filmteam accompanied He Limin during his search for older Dongba priests. By October 1999, he had been able to invite 92 of them to hold the sacrifice to the Wink Spirits Ritual during the occasion of the Lijiang International Dongba Cultual and Arts Festival.

Dongba- China's forgotten priests. - 2000 - 52 min,

Produced and Directed by Paul Benjamin Harris. A People and Places Production- 2000

The film delves into the Dongba cult of the Naxi from Lijiang and presents a world on the brink of extinction. It tells the story of Rock's discovery of the culture and looks back to the years that Rock spent among the Naxi. The film centres around a special Dongba ceremony performed to appease the demons of love suicide. In old Naxi society the custom of love suicide was common. If one had been promised in marriage and yet loved another, one would take one's own life rather than live in unhappiness. The souls of these people would then become angry demons who would wander over the earth and cause mischief and disasters: animals would become ill, crops would not grow and other people would be driven to commit love suicide or would find another violent end. To prevent these latest victims from also becoming demons, a ceremony would have to held for them so that they could enter the ancestral kingdom. Only in this way would the dead be able to rest and the living continue to live in peace.

The film poses the question of the survival of the Naxi Dongba cult and looks at the attempts of the last remaining priests to save their culture. Over the last few years the Dongba cult has been experiencing a renaissance. Although a few young people have taken it upon themselves to become Dongba priests, with an apprenticeship of up to ten years, it is unsure whether the the Naxi Dongba cult can be handed down in time and continue to exist.

Naxi gu le - Old Music of the Naxi - 1994

Directed by: Xu Lijun.

Screenplay: Xu Lijun.

In Lijiang still pervives a kind of music almost disappeared in China, the Dongjing music, with it blend of Buddhist, Confucian and Taoist elements, and some speacilly philosophical elements. Teaching the people, cultivating their character, it becomes a popular treasury.

Lijiang Naxi Fengqing - Customs of the Lijiang's Naxi - 1994

Directed by Xu Lijian.

Screenplay by: Xu Lijun.

About the especial culture developed by the Naxi nationality around Lijiang.

L'ecriture sacre des Naxis - 1994 - 13 min.

Directed by Malek Sahraoui

Egyptian hieroglyph or Mayas signs are forgotten languages, but there are, deep into South China, a very similar writing made out of drawings ; It¡¯s the Dongbas¡¯Writing, which survived until today.
Some old spiritual masters survived the Cultural Revolution cleanse and still use this writing and try to translate thousands of ancient inherited documents.
We discover all along this documentary stories from the past as well as the wisdom principles that nowadays¡¯ inhabitants have forgotten, caught up with new China modernism.

Naxi Art and Culture in Lijiang - 1966 - 31 min.

Directed by: Qiu Pu, Yang Guanghai, Zhan Chengxu and Krüger, Karsten.

The Naxi art and culture in Lijiang. Describes architecture, carving, wall-painting and other crafts of the Naxi from the Autonomous District of Lijiang in Yunnan Province. The "Dongba" script and religious "Dongba-jing" written in this script is shown. Religious songs and dances of the Naxi as well as traditional Naxi music are also documented. 1966. 31 min. Video/C 9747

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