• 72 minutes
    2020
    Mandarin
    English or Swedish subtitles

Directed by award-winning Mikael Kristersson, Åsa Ekman and Oscar Hedin Hetteberg
In co-operation with Swedish Postcode Foundation, Swedish Film Institute, Film i Skåne, Creative Europe, Formas and The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation.
Festivals & Forums Tempo documentary award.

EARTH: MUTED

At the bottom of the Hanyuan valley in Sichuan province, China, bees are going extinct due to widespread use of pesticides and monocultures. In this lush landscape, that hides an ecosystem on the brink of collapse, three farming families work the fields worrying about their children’s futures.  

Cao, a successful fruit cultivator, follows the recommendations of the authorities to spray pesticides and hand-pollinate hundreds of trees. Season after season, his wish to send his granddaughters to university outgrows the realization that his work may harm the environment. Jingjing, the seven-year-old daughter of beekeepers Zhang and Chen, travels thousands of kilometres up north to see her parents. They had to move away from Hanyuan to save the bees and leave Jingjing behind with her grandparents. Ye, a single parent living on the top of the mountain, wants to spend his last money on an organic cherry orchard. To finish his house and pay for his son’s education they need to raise their income. When his father puts pressure on him to spray the crop to protect it from pests, Ye is prone to give in.

Cao, Jingjing, and Ye are shown in relation to nature – in an orchard without pollinating insects, among the hives of the last domesticated bees, and in a mountainside forest where wild bees still fly. Their stories reveal a relatable battle: the difficulty of choosing between your loved ones’ immediate needs and the bigger picture, the wellbeing of the planet and mankind itself.