Taming the Horse

You must be logged in to watch films on Festival Scope

Taming the Horse (Xun Ma)

Directed by Tao Gu

  • Canada, China 2017; 129 min
  • Original version: English, Chinese
  • Genre: Documentary
    • Grand Prize (Canadian Competition) - RIDM
    • Grand Prize Montgolfière d’or - Festival des 3 continents

  • DOK Leipzig


Growing up on the wind-blown plains of Inner Mongolia, Dong developed an unbridled spirit and a belief in the virtues of simple living. When his family, like millions of others during China’s economic reform, migrated south seeking opportunity, Dong’s spirited ideals were at odds with the values of a rapidly modernizing society in the early throws of consumerist frenzy. More than a decade later, Dong is a dreamer who has lost his way, a loser in derision, spiritually alienated and socially troubled—a listless young adult battling bouts of depression and substance abuse without a sense of place or purpose in his own society.

When an old friend and filmmaker returns to the city with a video camera in hand on the eve of Dong’s 30th birthday, something in him stirs and he begins pouring out his most intimate thoughts. Over the course of a year, filmmaker Tao Gu accompanies Dong in his struggles with family and society, sex and love, identity and survival as a young man in modern China. The resulting portrait is of a difficult and divisive young man; a sympathetic record on the human condition in contemporary China; a raw cry for truth, a longing for a better life.



    Aonan Yang, Xun Yu, Tao Gu