黎歌 - Song of the Li People (also known as Farewell Song) - an award winning film from 2011, which honours ethnic diversity in China. The first scene is straight ethnology, shot from real life. An elderly Li woman in traditional dress sings a traditional song. The film then cuts to the sound of a man singiung a traditional call, which echoes across mist covered mountains and rivers How beautiful that scenery is ! The Li people inhabit an autonomous region around Guangxi and Hainan on the tropical coast of south west China. Although they are believed to have migrated from further east in ancicent times, they have a distinct language and culture. To this day, there are just under 2 million , though many, like others in China, have migrated to larger cities. This movie is thus a record of Li culture and of social change. Though the pace is sedate, that allows lots of music and shots of scenery, which are very much part of the story - beautiful cinematography.
A small boat putters along the river It's operated by A Dong, a village youth. Though it's the prefered form of transport for the locals, the outside world is not so far away. Danmei scrapes a living selling tack to tourists but she's such a good singer of traditional Li song that she's sought out by Lao He, an ethnomusicologist. Life in the village isn't easy and many villagers have already gone to work in the city. Danmei is reluctant. "In Guangzhou", she says, people "despise those who can't speak Cantonese". Rather topical. Danmei uses a laptop to look up Guanzhou , but her friend, who's lived there and grown hard, says "No matter how nice it is, it's not our place". Nonetheless, Danmei and A Dong plan to elope and look for work. They haven't enough money but he buys her an "expensive" dress in the nearby small town.
If you like this, you might like Frühlingsglaube the movie 立春 where a singer loves schubert so much that she wants to dedicate herself to art. Things don't work out so easily, but she finds her vocation in another way.