They are a model of socialism. Living as a collective and as equals in a family-based commune. They are the Hakka from the mountainous region of South East China. Their home is a fortress-like structure called the Tulou, where as many as five hundred family members share an ancient way of life. The Tulou is one of the world’s most unique buildings. But as China modernizes and its cities expand, life in the Tulou is slowly disintegrating. As the young move away to find work, only old family members are left to endure the hardships of rural life. One man chooses to avoid extinction by transforming his Tulou into a popular tourist hot spot. The trend grows and the Hakka are quickly flooded with strangers walking among their homes. They soon realize that tourism is a two-headed monster that brings promises of wealth but threatens to destroy their ancient culture. This is the remarkable story of a clan’s struggle to survive.
A beautifully photographed film set among the mountains and valleys of the very fascinating Hakka people. The Tulou are enormous round shaped structures made of thick rammed earth walls enclosing a round courtyard. This will house as many as one hundred households living as a collective – helping each other and sharing the work. These huge round structures attracted the attention of the CIA during the sixties cold war and satellite images also convinced the NSA they were looking at nuclear missile silos! Only after a visit by undercover U.S. spies did they realize these were the unique homes of the Hakka clan. Today the Tulou and the Hakka clan are in danger of extinction, as society fragments and splits with new found freedom and new found wealth for the x and y generations of Chinese.
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