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Yu Guangyi's stunning debut explores a grueling winter amongst loggers in Northeast China as they employ traditional practices through one last, fateful expedition. For generations, the lumberjacks of Heilongjiang, China have made their living harvesting timber amidst a barren, wintry landscape. These woodcutters confront the elements, living in makeshift cabins surrounded by snow and ice. Hand tools, sleds and horses are the only technology they employ to drag massive trees down the perilous slopes of Black Bear Valley. At constant risk of injury and death, they attempt to appease the mountain gods with ancient rituals and sacrifices. Despite their heroic efforts to subsist, the deforestation caused by their decades-long customs may lead to their ultimate demise.
- Guosheng Wang
- Guangyi Yu
- C/O YU GUANGYI
Yu Guangyi depicts local residents struggling to maintain their traditional way of life amidst the pressures of urbanization, environmental degradation, social change and outward migration
Yu Guangyi was born in 1961 in China's northeastern Heilongjiang Province. A childhood love of drawing and painting led him to the southern city of Hangzhou, where he attended the China Academy of Art. Upon graduation, he embarked on a successful career as a wood-block print artist. Many of his best-known works are simple, moving, black and white depictions of rural life in the Changbai mountains, where he was born and raised. In 2004, after an absence of nearly two decades, Yu Guangyi returned to these mountains and began a series of documentary films about local residents struggling to maintain their traditional way of life amidst the pressures of urbanization, environmental degradation, social change and outward migration. Yu Guangyi divides his time between Datong city, Heilongjiang, and a cabin he built in the Changbai mountains.