Amongst White Clouds


"An unforgettable journey into the hidden tradition of China’s Buddhist hermit monks Amongst White Clouds is an intimate insider’s look at students and masters living in scattered retreats dotting China’s Zhongnan Mountain range. These peaks have reputedly been home to recluses since the time of the Yellow Emperor, some five thousand years ago. It was widely thought that the tradition was all but wiped out, but this film emphatically and beautifully shows us otherwise. One of only a few foreigners to have lived and studied with these elusive practitioners, American director Edward Burger is able, with humor and compassion, to present their tradition, their wisdom, and the hardship and joy of their everyday lives among the clouds. Filmed on location in China Written and Directed by Edward Burger Produced by Chad Pankewitz A Cosmos Pictures Production Official Selection: Mill Valley Film Festival, Taos Mountain Film Festival, Denver Starz Film Festival, True/False Film Festival, Maui Film Festival, Santa Fe Film Festival, Tahoe/Reno Film Festival, Mt. Shasta International Film Festival" (text taken from Amazon)

Year Released
Running Time
86 min
Festival Media
Average: 4 (1 vote)


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A versatile film for the upper secondary classroom

Field of Interest/Specialty: Library & Art
Posted On: 02/28/2011

Inspired by Bill Porter’s search for traditional Chinese hermits outlined in the highly acclaimed book Road to Heaven, Edward Burger continues the search via the visual format of film. The subject matter lends itself to the vivid images captured over repeated expeditions into China’s Zhongnan Mountains. Burger carries viewers into the world of the elusive Buddhist and Daoist monks and their search for meaning through simplicity and isolation. From first hand accounts surrounding various beliefs on the path to enlightenment to detailed explanations of fetching drinking water, Clouds provides a thorough understanding of daily life in the Mountains. Sweeping panoramas expose the beauty of the region while the subtle soundtrack enhances the films content.
Amongst White Clouds is not overtly didactic and most certainly has a place in the upper level secondary classroom. The film offers a majestic examination of rural religious culture and provides a complementary counterpoint to bustling urban experience of 21st Century China.