Originally titled Ye Shan, In the Wild Mountains was filmed on location in the Northern China province of Shaanxi, where the story takes place. The central characters are a pair of brothers, Hehe and Huihui. Huihui is satisfied with his austere existence as a farmer, but Hehe is eager to improve his lifestyle. When Hehe heads to the City to make his fortune, he leaves his young wife Quirong in Huihui's care. Huihui's own wife Guijan, fascinated by the returning Hehe's tales of the wonders of the City, leaves Huihui to join Hehe. The two erstwhile lovers are later ostracized by Huihui and by the rest of the village. Out of this family crisis grows the film's satisfying denouement: Hehe is paired with Guijan, while Huihui finds the mate of his dreams in Quirong. The most winning aspect of In the Wild Mountains is its equanimity; we are invited to empathize with everyone in the story, rather than pass judgment over their occasional human frailties.
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