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Monday, October 11, 2021

The Valley of the Forgotten People - China - Deadliest Roads


A lifeline for the numerous villages in the region, the Duong Valley road is the only link between China, Burma, and Tibet. The film crew joins locals (and a very special pig!), aboard a collective taxi to explore the region. Things start well enough; for the first 30 km, the road is paved. However, the tarmac quickly gives way to a dirt track, perched on the side of a vertiginous ravine. Landslides punctuate the drivers’ progress, and passengers frequently have to get out and dig. It’s a bumpy ride, and the pig has to be moved from his precarious position on the roof of the vehicle to join the human passengers inside.

The drivers are fearless, ready to risk life and limb to complete their journeys. We encounter a crowd waiting at the entrance of an unfinished tunnel. The roof has collapsed, and the lorries cannot get through. The travelers work for long hours inhaling dust and carbon monoxide, hoping that the vibrations from the engines will not cause the tunnel to collapse on their heads.

High up the hills, woodcutters fell the trees to make carbon, before embarking upon a back-breaking hike to the roadside where they will sell their wares. To reach their destination they must swing across a 50-meter river on a make-shift flying fox, their heavy cargo in tow. Further along, a Buddhist monk loads heavy stones on the back of a geriatric pickup truck, and an entrepreneur gambles his savings on a lead mine. The stories of the Duong Valley’s intrepid inhabitants interweave with the drama of its beautiful but unpredictable landscape.

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Item Reviewed: The Valley of the Forgotten People - China - Deadliest Roads Rating: 5 Reviewed By: BUXONE