Up the Mountain

Huo shan

  • Yang Zhang
  • China
  • 2018
  • 126 min
  • World Premiere
  • IDFA Competition for Feature-Length Documentary

Years ago, artist Shen Jianhua moved from Shanghai to a remote mountain village. His drawing lessons have a profound effect on the lives of the people who take them. The master painter’s home is an open house for his painting guests. One of Shen’s pupils is impressed by his modern lifestyle and wonders if he and his new wife should move to the city.

Meanwhile, elderly ladies produce colorful paintings of everything that goes on in the village: the New Year’s party, newborn kittens, a banquet. Director Zhang Yang captures their chance, sometimes comical conversations, and follows the calm rhythm of their daily lives. The result is a film about the warmth of the open fire, the sound of snapping corncobs and simmering fish soup. Zhang shows life in the mountains in fabulous views with great depth and geometric precision. Every frame is like a painting, and the stunning compositions demand the same calm and attention of the viewer as the craftsmanship of the painter.


  • 126 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Mandarin
  • Subtitles in: English
Yang Zhang
Yang Zhang
Executive producer
Zhenyou Cheng
Daming Guo
Le Wei

IDFA history

World Premiere
IDFA Competition for Feature-Length Documentary

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IDFA history

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