ON THE RIM OF THE SKY

In Gulu, a remote village in western China, substitute teacher Shen has presided over the village primary school for 26 years. But one day, a young, idealistic volunteer teacher named Bao appears on the scene and threatens Shen's position. This film documents the problems that arise from this clash of generations.

Gulu is an idyllic village perched precariously on the edge of a cliff in China's Sichuan province. Isolated and without electricity or contact to the outside world until a track is built in 2004, it is heaven on earth to its inhabitants. For over 26 years, substitute teacher Shen has happily presided over the village's primary school – that is, until a young, idealistic volunteer teacher named Bao appears on the scene. Bao is full of utopian visions, Che Guevara-inspired revolutionary ideas and Don Quixote fantasies. The teachers clash almost immediately over proposed improvements to the town and funds earmarked to build a new school. They force parents and students to choose sides, all in the name of pride. A "first contact" story about intergenerational misunderstanding and disrespect, On the Rim of the Sky is an epic take on the problems of outsider versus insider, youth versus experience and trust versus suspicion. This film documents the changes that take place in Gulu over a period of four years and describes the people's spiritual needs and material requirements. The changes in Gulu village reflect the larger changes that are taking place in China as a whole.

Genre Society
Length 100' / 52' HD
Film by Hongjie Xu
Production
Original Title Morgen wird es schöner sein / A la rive du ciel
Year 2014

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web Opfer web OnTheRimOfTheSky-baoPlay

In a remote village in western China, long-time primary school teacher Shen and newcomer volunteer Bao come into conflict. It is a clash of generations: youth versus experience, trust versus suspicion.
Gulu is an idyllic village perched precariously on the edge of a cliff in China’s Sichuan province. Isolated and without electricity or contact to the outside world until a track is built in 2004, it is heaven on earth to its inhabitants. For over 26 years, substitute teacher Shen has happily presided over the village’s primary school – that is, until a young, idealistic volunteer teacher named Bao appears on the scene. Bao is full of utopian visions, Che Guevara-inspired revolutionary ideas and Don Quixote fantasies. The teachers clash almost immediately over proposed improvements to the town and funds earmarked to build a new school. They force parents and students to choose sides, all in the name of pride. A “first contact” story about intergenerational misunderstanding and disrespect, On the Rim of the Sky is an epic take on the problems of outsider versus insider, youth versus experience and trust versus suspicion. This film documents the changes that take place in Gulu over a period of four years and describes the people’s spiritual needs and material requirements. The changes in Gulu village reflect the larger changes that are taking place in China as a whole.

Society / Human Interest
Length 100’
Film by Hongjie Xu
Production Hongjie Xu with the support of Film- und Medienstiftung NRW
Original Title Morgen wird es schöner sein / A la rive du ciel

Festivals & awards (selection)
World Film Festival of Bangkok, Thailand, 2015
DOC NYC, USA, 2015
Cork Film Festival, Ireland, 2015
Anthropological Filmfestival in Jerusalem, Israel, 2015
Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival, 2015
Hot Docs, Canada 2015
Sydney Film Festival, Australia 2015
Open City Documentary Festival, UK 2015 (International Emerging Filmmaker Award)
DMZ International Documentary Film Festival,  2015
China Academy Awards of Documentary Film, China 2014 (Best Chinese Theme)
Locarno Film Festival, Switzerland 2014