“Mountain Patrol: Kekexili,” a film that offers an alternative version to life in Tibet, will be shown this weekend at the Smith Opera House.
Set on the imposingly beautiful Tibetan plateau, the film feels both exotic and familiar — exotic in its astonishing landscapes and as familiar as an American Western with its stoic characters and elemental sense of adventure.
Ruthless poachers with high-powered rifles and jeeps are exterminating herds of Tibetan antelope for their rare and precious wool, scattering the carcasses for the vultures. The species is on the edge of extinction, and its only protection is a band of paramilitary irregulars without enough money, manpower or firepower to combat the hunters effectively.
“Mountain Patrol” is a depiction of life in an inhospitable and unforgiving part of the world, almost a travelogue of hardship. In the thin air, a foot race can do lethal damage to pulmonary systems.
Some of the film's images — the starving men eating raw rabbit, parched landscapes littered with antelope carcasses or the weather-worn faces of men who have known little physical comfort — are strange and shocking, but, in sum, they contribute to a work of stark, primal power.
The film will be screened at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10 through Tuesday, Nov. 14, with a matinée at 2 p.m. Sunday the 12th.
In Tibetan and Mandarin with English subtitles, this film is unrated and has a running time of 90 minutes. Tickets are $5 general admission and $3 for students and senior citizens. Call (315) 781-LIVE or toll-free at (866) 355-LIVE for details or to order tickets.