Mountain Patrol

Friday, 12 February 2010

I finally got to see Mountain Patrol on Monday, only six years after it came out. I have to say it was worth the wait, and worth seeing it on a biggish screen at Rich Mix in Shoreditch, as part of the London Himalaya Film Festival. The film tells the story of a group of armed wildlife rangers on the hunt for a gang of poachers, who are systematically stripping the Tibetan plateau of chiru, the antelope from which the incredibly fine shahtoosh comes from. I was once at a party in Kathmandu when a well-known and now deceased travel operator produced a shahtoosh shawl and invited me to wear it. It was like something elves would make, impossibly light and ludicrously warm. He then drew the shawl through his wedding ring. Impressive, but better, I think, still attached to the chiru. The antelope are not the stars of this film, nor the patrol, although they give engaging performances. The star is the landscape itself and how it's used by writer and director Chuan Lu. It's a hostile, beautiful and entirely amoral canvas against which the small band of poachers and gamekeepers live out desperate lives. If you want a worthwhile review, then look no further than the New York Times. And if you have an interest in Tibet or wild landscapes, get hold of a copy.

Posted by Ed Douglas at 12.06 AM