Ma Zishan is an aging Muslim farmer, part of the Hui minority. He and his family eke out an existence farming on an arid moonscape in China. Forty days after his wife dies, Ma must perform a memorial service and invite his village neighbours to a feast. He and his adult son make the difficult decision to sacrifice their aging cow for the service, but the cow soon stops eating and drinking, as if in anticipation of its slaughter. Old Ma tenderly cares for the animal; perhaps he sees something of himself in the loyal old beast. Both of them are approaching the end of their natural lifespans.
WANG Xuebo started his film career as a producer, with films like Pema Tseden’s THARLO. The film premiered in Venice in 2015 and won many awards including at Tokyo FilmEx, Golden Horse awards, APSA, Vesoul. In 2010, he began working on a new project, KNIFE IN THE CLEAR WATER, which was completed in 2016. It is WANG Xuebo’s first feature.