“Wild China”

Cormorant fisherman near Yangshuo washes off his bamboo raft after a fishing trip.

(photo credit:  © Phil Chapman 2007)

Cormorant fisherman near Yangshuo washes off his bamboo raft after a fishing trip. 

(photo credit: © Phil Chapman 2007)

By Jae-Ha Kim
Amazon.com
August 15, 2008

Beautifully filmed and soothingly narrated by Bernard Hill (The Lord of the Rings trilogy), Wild China takes an expansive look at the fourth largest country in the world.

Over a period of more than six hours, the miniseries–which was co-produced by the BBC and China’s CTV–lets viewers into a world that is straddling the line between modern-day efficiency and old world traditions.

Fans accustomed to travelogues with personable hosts such as quirky Anthony Bourdain or perky Samantha Brown leading them through far away places may get a little bored with the hands-off approach here. But the beauty of this production is in the country and the people, and the way the filmmakers present them in crisply edited vignettes.

We see the jumping spiders atop Mount Everest, the winding grace of the Great Wall, and of course some shy pandas that many people equate with China.

But some of the best moments are the simple ones–children in a classroom, fishermen working the waters, and monks meditating in monasteries.

As did the Planet Earth series, Wild China makes viewers wish they were there.

The film doesn’t touch heavily on the politics of China, but it isn’t lacking because of the omission.

As it is, Wild China ends all too soon, leaving viewers longing for more for a country that once didn’t welcome in foreigners.

August 15, 2008

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