Part 4, the last part for now (I'll give the link below) of the documentary series Summer of Life /景颇夏天 by director Xie Mengqian, slightly differs in style from last week’s Part 3. Very subtly, bits of a deeper reality are revealed, explaining why Li Yang and I have chosen for our peculiar life style, right in the Jingpo village and surrounded by children.
You’ll still see me appearing as the strange and shabby foreigner that somehow is so much attached to the ethnic Jingpo countryside, and the contents of this episode are mostly still quite innocent. But this time Li Yang, the organizational mastermind behind the project, is also getting into the picture. Serious themes, like drug addictions of our students' parents, and the general neglect of the children’s individual needs, do get mentioned this time, just enough times for a good listener to realize the seriousness of the situation in our area.
But this series as a whole is also just beautifully filmed, with lots of cute children playing around, and picturesque and exotic village scenes. Some of the more innocent and photogenic themes in this episode are: (1) our puppetry classes with the kids, and (2) how we try to solve the problems with the Prop Roots House’s water supplies. You’ll see me trying to fix pipes, going up the mountain together with children for more repairs, a whole crowd of children forming a line pouring water into the container on the roof, and even Li Yang bringing a huge barrel of water with a tractor. Some of this was just for the film, though based on true stories. (3) Another theme is how we constructed a tiny recording studio, from wood, egg boxes, quilts and painted canvas, in order to be able to record local girls’ singing, and how one neighbor got hurt while helping us and how I took him to the doctor. (This really happened.)