Jumping into an icy swimming pool in minus 14 degree Celsius temperatures in northern China? No problem. Playing polo with a headless goat? Easy. Getting kicked out of Gansu province by the Chinese government? All in a day’s work. Climbing a five-storey sword ladder? Now, that may be pushing it for Peter and Jeff Hutchens, the 20-something filmmaker/photographer duo in this new six-part series.
Peter and Jeff go back to China, where they lived as children, to document the nation in the midst of social reinvention. Whether it’s a round of pick-up basketball with Tibetan herdsmen, a synthesized dance party outside traditional Kyrgyz yurts or a mobile phone-wielding camel guide in the desert, the boys uniquely capture the old China blending in with the new.
While in Yunnan, the boys make time to visit with a Lisu crossbow competitor whose house is only reachable by zipline and is accented with a rat hanging from the ceiling. In Gansu, they experience firsthand the political struggles taking place in China after being forced to leave the area during the recent Tibetan protests. In Harbin, Peter and Jeff return to familiar territory, trying their hand at ice sculpting and ice swimming before warming up with a few shots of vodka at a local bar made entirely from ice.
The series allows Jeff and Peter to demonstrate what they do best: taking truly stunning photographs and film footage that turn the series into a visual feast. Travelling from rough and tumble western China to the picturesque Three Gorges along the Yangtze and the desolate steppes of Inner Mongolia, Peter and Jeff expressively depict the feel of these landscapes and spirit of those living in this dynamic country.