The Horse Thief

Director: Tian Zhuangzhuang
Year Released: 1986
Rating: 1.5

Norbu (Rigzin Tseshang), a Tibetan stealer-of-equines, is thrown out of his clan and struggles to support his wife and children; later, his son dies and he goes in search of redemption.  This is a fantastic example of a movie to just look at and not think too much about (the "plot" is as bare as they come): you're supposed to sit slack-jawed as Tian's cinematographers Zhao Fei and Hou Young lovingly record rural China with its glorious mountains and fog machines blowing off camera and inhabitants killing livestock or marching through the fields, and not think about what the rituals being performed actually mean or delve into the backstories of any of these people.  It's the "personal" replaced with the "impersonal": a glorified National Geographic collage ... which seems to be enough for many when it comes to filmic art.