Most films about Dunhuang focus on the caves and the murals inside the Mogoa Caves especially – and with good reason, as they are indeed one of the stunning art collections in the world.
But this film in the China Revealed series looks at its subject from another angle: its position as a fortress at one end of the Great Wall, and the natural rock formations that are found nearby.
The first half of the film looks at the numerous remains of the fortifications that are found spotted throughout the area, showing a new sight for me at least, and one I hadn’t given much thought to.
As Dunhuang basically formed the gateway out of and into China, of course, it was, and needed to be, heavily fortified, and the entry to the city and thereby the country controlled.
In the middle there is a short section on the murals, and that includes some interesting information, but the second half looks at the natural rock formations that have been created near the town owing to the climate and winds.
The film is fairly slow moving, and there are just a few staged events which it lingers on, but it also has some very fine drawings to help illustrate the story. All in all something new about the great city of Dunhuang to ponder on.
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