Shang’ajia – Jin Jiang


A group of Lisu people without a registered ID (Hukou) live their primitive life in the mountains by the Nujiang River in Yunnan. In addition to misfortune and hardships, they also have simple happiness.


Synopsis of Shang’ajia

A group of Lisu minority people without an official ID (Hukou) live in the mountains by the Nujiang River in Yunnan. There are no schools nor hospitals but churches. Occasionally, philanthropists came to teach children, but they were banned. Unable to go to school, the children spent their time working for their family.

Shang’ajia is about the lives of two brothers of the Lisu ethnic group: the elder brother, Jia Lihua, 17, and the younger brother, Jia Lihua, 10. Their father died when the younger brother was six months old. Their mother remarried and left the mountain without taking them. The two brothers lived in the mountain with their grandmother and uncle. Beyond misfortune and hardships, there is also simple happiness in their primitive life.

Read our blog post to learn why these Lisu people don’t have Hukou in China and see reviews about issues reflected by this film from local audience.


1 hour 35 minutes* | English & Simplified Chinese subtitles | HD (1920×1080)
China | 2017
Director: Jin Jiang
*52-minute version is available for institutional use.

Awards & Film Festivals

1. Official Selection, 2017 West Lake International Documentary Festival
2. Official Selection, 2018 Taiwan International Documentary Festival
3. Grand Jury Prize, 2018 Beijing Independent Film Festival
4. Official Selection, 2018 China Independent Film Festival

Highlight Endorsement

“A rare documentary which is very vigorous! It presents some fresh scenes that are hard to see.”
Jing Zhi De Liu Shui, Douban reviewer

“The director is very good as his debut is so sophisticated.”
Lan Gan Lan, Douban reviewer

Reasons for Recommendation

1. The quasi-primitive childish innocent and evil time is comparable to Wang Bing‘s Three Sisters. Secular politics and popular culture permeate this seemingly forgotten mountain end with pinpoint precision.
2. This documentary is back to authenticity to maximize the presentation of local lifestyle and habits.
3. The footage and editing are very mature. It’s an unforgettable and powerful stroke in the independent documentary.

More Info

1. Related blog posts

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