Mountain Patrol

Synopsis: The Tibetan Mountain Patrol, a self-sponsored outcast regimen established to eliminate illegal slaughtering of endangered Tibetan Antelopes by impoverished local and out-of-province peasants, intimately engages with a half-Tibetan journalist from Beijing in a desolate depiction of human nature in the outskirts of Kekexili.
Genre: Action, Drama
Director(s): Chuan Lu
Production: Samuel Goldwyn Films
  21 wins & 15 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
90 min

Are you one of the patrol? Yes. Good. - One of Ritai's men? - Yeah. Fine, then cut him loose. What are you looking at? Don't stop. Hold the leg up. Turn the head a bit. Give me the knife. Kekexili... the last virgin wilderness of China. This plain, nearly 4, 700 meters high... is the only remaining habitat of the Tibetan antelope. In 1985, poachers began hunting antelopes for their fine wool... which was prized in foreign markets. Within a few years... the number of antelopes plunged from one million to under 10,000. A volunteer civilian patrol was formed in 1993 to combat the poachers. It was led by Ritai, a retired Tibetan army officer. The patrol fought fierce battles with the poachers... arousing the attention of the outside world. In the winter of 1996... poachers murdered one of the patrolmen. My newspaper immediately sent me to cover the story. QINGHAI Hey, mister. Take our picture. Good morning. Where's Ritai? Ritai! - He's over there. - Thanks. Good morning. I'm Ritai. I'd like to interview you. Who are you? What? Do you have some ID? I'm a reporter from Beijing. - I don't have the time. - Wait a second! You want this place to be declared as a nature reserve. Maybe I can help. - Dawa. - Dawa. Yes. Take him upstairs. Your bag. Follow me. Prepare dinner. Okay. - You are? - Yangjin. - Are you Ritai's daughter? - Yes. What are you reading? - Just some documents. - Oh. Get some rest. Where's Liu Dong? Sit. Here, have some meat. You're cutting in the wrong direction. - You understand Tibetan? - My father's a Tibetan. Tibetans always point knives towards themselves. Samba cha cha cha Samba cha cha cha Dragon dragon cha cha cha Dragon dragon cha cha cha You cheat, you lost it. Liu Dong, drink up. Let me drink it for him. Liu Dong, let's go. Songji. - What's wrong? Where are you going? - None of your business. Honey, where are you going? Liu Dong. - Liu Dong. - Yes. Give me a hand. Take your guns. - Give me a hand. - Okay. We're going to the mountains. Hop in. Come back alive! Take care of yourself. MIDNIGHT OF NOVEMBER 1st, 1996 Here comes a truck. We have a checkpoint here. - Are there any poachers here? - Maybe. We're close to the antelope breeding grounds. They always pass by here. - Where are you coming from? - Wudaoliang construction site. - Where are you going? - Ge'ermu. We're the mountain patrol. We need to check your cargo. Get out. - Do you have pelts with you? - No. - What are those? - It's cotton. Once more, what is this? It's antelope wool. Move over! Get off. What will you do with him? Let him go. He's just a carrier. We don't have the power to arrest anybody... just to confiscate the pelts. DAY 2: BUDONG SPRINGS CONSERVATION STATION - A-Wang, he's a reporter from Beijing. - Hi. He'll make you a big star! All right! Have a seat. - Here are the supplies for this month. - Great. Put them in the corner. - A-Wang, hurry up with dinner. - Okay. My radio is broken. What's the latest news? Qiangba's not with us anymore. Chasing after another girl? He was killed. You be careful. I give this song to the White Temple. I sing this song for the White Temple. I give this song to the White Temple. I sing this song for the White Temple. I give this song to the White Temple. I sing this song for the White Temple. Bless you. Be careful! See you! Bless you! He's been stationed there all by himself? Yes, he's been there for three years. He keeps the poachers away. Three years. We're short of hands. We haven't enough men to do it. DAY 3: ZHUONAI LAKE Are they all Tibetan antelopes? Bastards. You! Come here! You! Come here! - Where are you from? - Suihua. - What are you doing here? - Collecting worms. Seen any poachers? Yes. How many? I don't know. - What about you? - I saw some. How many? - Don't know. - Don't lie to us! We closed our eyes when they started shooting. It was too dark, we saw nothing. Do you have a fishing permit? No. Fine them. We bury more than 10,000 antelopes each year. DAY 5: YAK VALLEY No gas. It's them. They were here not long ago. Let's go. DAY 7: CUMAR RIVER That's them. Over there! Stop. All of you! Don't move, all of you! Hold it there! Get down on the ground! Take off your pants. Cross the river. Don't move! Down on the ground. All of you. Captain, they don't have pelts or guns. Down on the ground. Where's he injured? His leg. There's no hope. It's the artery. I don't want to die. What's your name? Ma Rui. Where are you from? Hualong. How old are you? Twenty. Have you ever killed any antelopes? Please help me. (Tibetan prayer) Take them across the river. Hurry. Kneel down! Ma Zhanlin, do you have anything to say this time? Let me have another coat. I'm freezing cold. Where's your boss? - We just skin them. - Don't lie. That's all I do. - Tell us the truth. - I don't know anything. - Are you the gunman? - No. - You're the gunman? - No, I'm not. - Then what do you do? - I'm the driver. - Who's the gunman? - I don't know. - Who knows? - My son is not the gunman. - Who is the gunman? - I really don't know. Who knows? - He knew. He hired us. - Ma Zhanlin, cut the crap! I'm just a driver. - Are you the gunman? - No, I'm the driver. - Then tell us who the gunman is. - I don't know. They're lying. - I really don't know. - They say you're in charge. They're lying to save themselves. Why are you still here if you're the driver? The truck broke down. I couldn't fix it. They can't see you now. Talk. I really don't know anything. - This is your last chance. - I really can't help. - Talk! - I don't know anything. - Talk! - I know nothing. I just drive the truck. - I don't know. I really don't. - Talk to us! I don't know anything. Talk. - I know nothing. - Talk to us. - Let me go. - Talk to us. Talk now or I'll shoot you! I don't know anything. Talk now or I'll shoot you! All right, I'll tell you. Don't kill me. The pelts are here. Dig. They're all here. There are more underneath. How many do we have? - 547, mostly female. - It's the breeding season. What a shame. The gunman got away. What about the men you captured? They were from small caliber rifles. The real gunmen use machine guns. I've been chasing them for years. Can I have one? I haven't smoked for several days, too. Thanks. What do you do? I skin the animals. How much do they pay you? Five Yuan for each pelt. I'm the fastest skinner in Ge'ermu. All my children are here, too. He's my eldest, here's the middle one, and the youngest. They're all skinners. In the past, I was a shepherd. I herded sheep, cattle, and camels. Now the grasslands have turned into desert. The sheep and cattle all gone dead or sold off. It's tough to survive here. - I need to pee. - Me, too. All right, stop yelling. Gayu, hand me the bucket. - I want to pee. - Wait your turn. The gunmen had to cross this river, if they're heading north. It's crossable! One, two, three! Get up and help. Who wants a drink? DAY 9 Rope. Everyone gets a half. I want more. I haven't eaten anything in days. We are sharing our food with you. That's all you get. Thank you. Like flowing water Oh, dear mother No matter how far I travel I shall return no matter how far I travel Clouds of brilliant white please deliver my message I long for home I pray for you in my heart Get inside. Turn around. Can't sleep? The air's thin up here. It's better outside the car. - Your nose is bleeding again. - It's all right. - It's beautiful. - It is. I get homesick every time I go out on patrol. Even the lights on the highway remind me of home. But when I'm home I start thinking of Kekexili. Do you know what Kekexili means in Tibetan? It means "Beautiful mountains and girls." That isn't it. In Kekexili... each step may be the first human footprint... ever made on that spot since the world began. Those aren't my words. Two years ago, a geologist came from Beijing. I took him to Kekexili and he said that to me. Later the geologist went missing. No one has seen him since. There's a lot of quicksand around here. You idiot! Where are the poachers? Where are they? - Ma Zhanlin escaped with his sons. - When did you fall asleep? Around 5:00 a.m. Captain! Let go of me! Hunt them down! Stop! Stop! Stop! Did you hear me? Get down! Down! Watch him! Get up! Where's the key? I don't have it. I really don't have it. What's this? What's wrong? Pulmonary edema. Water? There isn't any. I can help. Let him try, he was a vet in Ge'ermu. Hold his arm. Liu Dong, you take Dawa back to see the doctor. Ping Cuo, you should go back, too. My shoulder wound isn't that bad. I can help watch the prisoners. All right. We need money for the doctor. Give him some money. It's not enough. - Do we have more? - Only the fine for the country. Give it to him. It's still not enough. Sell the pelts. I'm going after the gunman. You take the route through Huatugou. Okay. - Good luck. - Good luck. - Goodbye. - Goodbye. Be safe. Goodbye. Captain, we're almost out of food. How much do we have left? Two days worth for us. Not counting the prisoners. Fuel's nearly gone, too. We should turn back... No way! How much fuel is there? Four days if we give up the truck. That should allow us to catch them. Step back. Remove the handcuffs. Ma Zhanlin. Every time I catch you, you pay a fine. This time I'm letting you go without a fine. Really? Yes. I'm too old to make it back from here. I don't have food for you, and I'm short of fuel. I'm going after your boss. I can't take care of you. I can't make it. Yes, you can. It's 200 kilometers to the Al Mountain. And 100 more to the Kunlun Pass. You can make it. If you don't make it, then it's your fate. Good luck. May God be with you. DAY 10: BUGEDABAN PEAK What's wrong? The engine's gone. Out of oil. Why didn't you check the oil before? We've been going nonstop for two days. Can you fix it? Wait here for Liu Dong. Let's go. Good luck. Good luck! Can Liu Dong find them? If it doesn't snow. DAY 12 DAY 15 Doctor. Doctor. Get up. This bench is for patients. Your friend is all right. What do you want? I'm still working. Where have you been for so long? You're a mess. I'm working. Let go of me. Aren't you cold in those fishnets? It's my working outfit. What do you want from me anyway? You look like a lunatic. Are you playing deaf now? I miss you! You miss me but you didn't come to see me. I went patrolling. I thought you were dead. I need some money. You pull this sh*t every time I see you! - Lengxue. - Do you think I own a bank? Did you spend my money on other women? I don't know how you can live that crazy life. I just want to be with you. I'm leaving. You'll forget me soon. And find yourself another girl. Lengxue. Can Ma Zhanlin make it out alive? What about your men? I hope it doesn't snow. What's wrong? They'll never find us. We're going to die here. Shut up! Your whole situation looks pretty desperate. We're short of money, short of men, short of guns. My guys haven't been paid for almost a year. Can the country help? We're not officially employed. How do you pay for the patrol? We have to raise the money ourselves. What do you do with the pelts? We hand most of them over to the authorities. Do you sell some to raise the money? Selling the pelts is illegal. How should I write the article? I always thought I was a good journalist... I know you're a reporter. You think Kekexili can be protected by reporters? I'll go to prison if I have to. I know selling pelts is illegal. But I can't worry about that now. I can only think about Kekexili... and my brothers. Ever seen protestors on a pilgrimage? Their faces and hands are filthy. But their hearts are pure. I've sold pelts before. I had no choice. The highway's on the other side of the mountains. We have to catch them before they get there. Look around for something to eat. How many bullets do we have? A few dozen. Yixi, what did you do before this? I was a student. - Where? - Qinghai Normal University. You should be a teacher. This job is more interesting. Gayu, are you married? - No. - Girlfriend? We broke up right before I came here. Just like my patrol... each time they go out, their girlfriends leave them. There are plenty of nice girls out there. Isn't that right, Yixi? Right. What did Bading do before? A professional rabbit hunter. Nonsense. - He worked at a highway checkpoint. - For logging trucks. They worked in all kinds of jobs before joining the team. Liu Dong was a taxi driver. A-Wang was a soldier. Songji was a herder. For you. Have some! There's nothing to eat up in those mountains. DAY 17 Can Yixi and Bading find their way out? I think so. Should we wait for them here? Ma Zhanlin, you're still alive. I am. But many died on the way out. My team got separated, too. This is Capt. Ritai. This is our boss. Captain, have a smoke. I've been chasing you for years. Why? You killed my antelope. - So did a lot of people. - That's no excuse. So what do you want? You to come with me. Captain, if you let me off the hook... I'll buy you two cars... and I'll build you a new house, too. - Our boss is kind, and he's rich... - Shut up! Surrender your guns and come with me. Sure! Let's give the Captain our guns. We'll join his mountain patrol. Who fired? Who fired the gun? - Who? - I did. F*** you. You almost hit me. He's still alive. Are you a patrolman? No, he's not Ritai's guy. You're a dead man if you are! He's not. Follow our footprints for five kilometers to get to the highway.

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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