Identification, Space, and Discourse: The Last Moose of Aoluguya as an Allegory

Conference: The Asian Conference on Media, Communication & Film (MediAsia2021)
Title: Identification, Space, and Discourse: The Last Moose of Aoluguya as an Allegory
Stream: Documentary History
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Jia Xu, University of Hawaii at Manoa, United States


Modern civilization and industrialization, politics, and other ethnic cultures’ influence have changed or challenged the life of some China’s ethnic minorities. In 2003, Gu Tao, a filmmaker inspired by his ethnography photographer father, started to film Ewenki people in the Xingan region. In that year, a program called “eco-resettlement” was launched, the Ewenki people with the reindeer should move off the mountains to the relocation site, which led to maladjustment and depression. Through eight years of exploration and participation of their life, Gu ultimately made a trilogy of Ewenki people by documenting their living conditions, mental state, and their relationships with nature and other ethnic groups. The Last Moose of Aoluguya (Han Da Han 2012) includes poetic and romantic elements by focusing on the individual— Weijia, a young Ewenki who is a poet and painter, also a drinker. By closely examining the film, this paper argues that, as a “witness” much engaged in his subjects’ life, Gu not only explores them but also identifies with them. Besides, this film narrates the local through history by foregrounding the relationship between Weijia’s identities and the changing spaces. Third, the film features poetic composition, function, and effect as a metaphor to address the politics, interweaving them together to make both subjectivity and objectivity accessible.

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