A brigade of soldiers treks through the jungle. They do not seem to notice the man who is lying on the ground at all. A young man with a blindfold plays blind man's bluff, but he does not find the girl that he's looking for. Villagers discuss a police investigation into an explosion; a Russian hand-grenade has been found. A sign warns of landmines. An old woman remembers her lover's violent death. A domestic pig is implored to yield enough meat. A man saws his television in two.
"Crossing the Mountain" does not tell a conventional story; the film emerges like a picture puzzle. The protagonists are young, but they live with the ghosts of the past. Morbid stories of head-hunters, human sacrifice, wild animals. Skulls are found between rocks. The Chinese director Yang Rui spent three years with the Wa people in south-western China, on the border with Burma. With her second film she has created a kind of ethnographic fiction film. There is a sinister atmosphere in the lush colors of nature; the images and sounds are of painful intensity. A tropical malady lingers over life like an impending storm.