Blind Mountain (mang Shan)

Directed by Li Yang
  • Germany/Hong Kong/China
  • 97 minutes
  • 2007

Li Yang’s intense psychological drama was one of the stand-outs at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. Portraying the kidnapping of a young female student by a peasant family – who force her to be their only son’s bride – the film grips with extraordinary ferocity, and delivers a trenchant commentary upon relations between rural Chinese and their urbanised neighbours.

Having travelled to a remote part of Northern China for temporary work, Bai Xuemei (Huang Lu) is drugged by human traffickers, and wakes up to find that she’s been sold to a local family. Depicting with an appalled eye the details of Bai’s imprisonment, Blind Mountain is an adeptly controlled account of the young woman’s protracted escape attempt from the community.

Directed with lean, documentary-style restraint, the film gathers an achingly oppressive sense of tension as it charts Bai’s increasingly desperate efforts to escape. Savage in its irony, unrelenting in its tension, and with a final reel of bleak catharsis, Blind Mountain is an edge-of-your-seat thriller of rare distinction.

Ed Lawrenson, Edinburgh Film Festival Programme

Huang Lu, Yang Youan, Zhang Yuling, He Yunle, Jia Yinggao, Zhang Youping