The Mnong (or Hmong) people live in Cambodia and Vietnam and still maintain the customs of their ancestors, living off the forest, as well as engaging these days in some cultivation. This film is about a family of southern Mnong.
The documentary follows the training of I Kwan, a 10 year old boy, who goes to the forest with his father and uncle and there learns how to capture lizards and snakes (which can be sold to the Vietnamese), and to ride an elephant.
This is a life so very removed from the life of young children elsewhere, and requires skills that are life saving, as they deal with lizards with strong jaws and claws, and deadly snakes, including cobras.
The film is basically a glimpse of life of these people, whose way of life is getting more and more difficult to sustain. Even in I Kwan’s family the ability to capture elephants has been lost now.
The Mnong tribes are now down to approximately 125,000 people and how much longer they will be able to live according to their traditions is very unsure, and there are virtually no peoples in southeast Asia still living so close to and so reliant on nature.
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