CLOSE TO HEAVEN Philippinen_Pressefoto3 CLOSE TO HEAVEN Philippinen_Pressefoto7
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A unique natural landscape – the rice terraces in the Philippine Cordilleras – is facing destruction. Can this world heritage site be preserved for future generations?
Over 2,000 years ago, the Ifugao mountain people began building a unique natural landscape: the world-famous rice terraces in the Philippine Cordilleras. Through a sophisticated system of bamboo shoots, canals, dams and sluices, water is routed downwards through the terraces from field to field. This unique rice-growing concept was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. However, working high up in the fields is arduous and brings little financial reward. Many of the younger Ifugao no longer wish to pursue this backbreaking way of life and leave their villages for tourism jobs in neighbouring towns. People come from all over the world to see the very thing that the young Ifugao want to leave behind: the rice terraces and traditional Ifugao way of life. But if the fields are not cultivated constantly, they soon fall into disrepair. Will it be possible to maintain the terraces while also doing right by the young generation of Ifugao? Apart from the breathtaking landscapes of Hungduan or Batad, the film features scenes from the Imbayah Festival in Banaue and explores the various efforts being made to keep alive the unique cultural landscape and rich tradition of the Ifugao.

Human Interest / Foreign Culture
Length 45’ HD
Film by Antje Christ
Production Christ Media for NDR/ARTE, 2015
Original title Dem Himmel nah – Die Reisterrassen auf den Philippinen / Les rizières célestes des Philipines