Waking the Green Tiger Movie

 The film is tightly paced, and balanced in its English and Chinese language usage.Through rare footage never seen outside of China, the film-maker, Gary Marcuse, has released useful information and shocking history during the reign of Chairman Mao.


Man must conquer nature was the motto of Chairman Mao,  and even though his actions proved that he was on the wrong course, he continued. We are empathetic to the Chinese people, because we see that  no one dared to criticize during this time. The autocratic power that Chairman Mao held could not be questioned without risking imprisonment or death. The filmmaker had rare access to China’s former environment minister,Qu Geping, who, for over 40 years, tried to enact good legislation.

With the aim of caching up to Western progress, huge swaths of Chinese forests were cut down. They were burnt to give power to the steel-making machines. But after most of China was deforested, the steel produced was discovered to be useless, as wood-burning did not produce a high enough temperature. The second “experiment” was even more costly. As one of the animals deemed to be a threat to producing grain, the sparrow was declared a pest. Millions of these tiny birds were forced to fly all day, by banging pots, bells, and by shouting. The only place that they could land was on poisoned earth, where they died an agonizing death. Then the Chinese discovered that the sparrow actuaaly ate insects that threatened the grain. Locusts, formerly eaten by the birds, destroyed millions of acres of rice and other grains, and tens of millions of people died during the decade-long famine that followed. Seeing this on archived footage is a first for Western people.


In this context,Shi Lihong, one of the first Chinese environmentalists,enters the film. We see her first film, designed to educate the people who live in the path of an upcoming dam project. Also, through a new law passed, Shi Lihong can distribute her film to the villagers. Her tireless campaign is shown in a humane, humourous way. The excitement of whether or not the Leaping Tiger Gorge will be dammed is like a mystery thriller. I will leave the outcome to the audience. All in all, Waking the Green Tiger is a worthwhile, inspiring and beautiful film.

Leave a Reply