Mountain Patrol: Kekexili

Director Lu Chuan (The Missing Gun) unfolds this blunt, clear-eyed 2004 crime tale in the high plateau region north of Tibet’s Himalayan range. Stark, beautiful, and dangerous, Kekexili is a nature preserve where indigenous antelope are being slaughtered by poachers. Based on true events during the ’90s, Mountain Patrol relates how Tibetan-Chinese locals form a vigilante band to stop the poachers (who don’t limit their killing to wildlife). A Beijing journalist (Zhang Lei) tags along on a pursuit mission by the cheerful squad and its charismatic leader (Duo Bujie, a kind of Asian Humphrey Bogart, weary and obsessed). But are the patrollers and (mostly unseen) poachers so different? Director Lu isn’t sentimental about these lawmen or the big environmental picture of Chinese rule, overgrazing, and desertification. Mountain Patrol simply focuses on the conflict between some very determined men in a hostile, unforgiving environment. It’s drama stripped down to the treacherous ground. (PG-13) BRIAN MILLER

Sun., April 17, 2 p.m., 2011

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