Born In China – Movie Review


Born In China


Directed by: Chuan Lu

Narrated by: John Krasinski amd Xun Zhou

Rated: G

Run Time: 1h 16 mins

Genre: Documentary

4 Frames out of 5

By: Shari K. Green


In this beautiful Disneynature documentary, we find ourselves in China.  We meet a female Snow Leopard named Dewa, alone with her babies, an over-protective Giant Panda named Ya Ya and her cub Mei Mei, a Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey by the name of Tao Tao, who has anxiety over his new sister and chiru the Tibetan Antelope.  The gorgeous land they live in is an untouched region of China, away from the influence of the human race where animals are left to their own devices where their biggest worries are the elements and sets of teeth or claws belonging to their natural predators, not guns and man.

The film cycles through the four seasons with these four sets of animals.  A bit of a warning, Born in China even touches on the subject of death.  However, to help with what may hurt a little during this time, director Chuan Lu, known as one of the best young directors in China at the moment, reminds us of something the Chinese have always believed in… reincarnation.  This is where the bird the Crane comes in.  They claim the Crane, which he shoots beautifully, carries the soul from this life to the next.  Subscribing to this point of view will help take out the sting a little bit.

What the film seems to be doing is pointing out to us and even educating our kids about the fact that animals aren’t that different from us.  They feel as we do, they love like we do and they have a right to exist, as do we all.  Sometimes people need to be reminded that ours is not the only lives that matter.  Leave it to Disneynature to find an exquisite and entertaining way to send us that message and at what seems to be the perfect time.

The footage took four years for the film crew, living through the difficulties in climate and terrain, to capture these amazing moments for us to witness.  Some images have been captured for the first time which is mindblowing in and of itself.  You’ll enjoy Krasinski narration, often throwing in some of the animals attitudes.  Tao Tao would prefer to hang out with his friends, The Lost Boys, than with family when his horrible sister, who steals all of his love, is born.  This is particularly adorable but he learns a hard lesson about his decision.  Ya Ya’s cub rolling down a hill after its first attempt at climbing is too cute but also heartbreaking because you know the anguish Ya Ya is experiencing.  Dawa trying to fight off hunger for her and her cubs is painful to watch as an injury makes the quest for food nearly impossible.

The movie is glorious.  It’s touching and you have to see it on the big screen.  Every moment that the filmmakers spent, waiting through a climate that changed every thirty minutes, is well worth your time seeing, to be a part of and to experience.  Stay during the closing credits.  Here they shared some moments they went through to make this film for you.  Gems await you that are almost as fun as any moment in the film itself.


About Shari K. Green

Shari became fascinated by films when at the age of seven she saw a movie being made in front of her house. As a teenager she immersed herself in the culture of film working on stage and then became a cinephile, working in a video store. Since then she expanded into film criticism writing for the last eight years and she has now written, directed and produced several short films and is currently working on a feature film project with her production company, Good Stew Productions, which she created with a few of her friends. Her favorite movies are “The Big Chill” and “Lonely Boy” and she enjoys watching Woody Allen films above all others.

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