The Forest Ranger (2006)

Countries - China  |  
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Synopsis by Mark Deming

A man finds violence and corruption in an unexpected place in this adventurously structured drama from Chinese filmmaker Qi Jian. When Li Tiangou (Fu Dalong) is found seriously injured after a series of violent altercations in a small town in the woods, Wu (Wang Jianrong), a local official, and Wang (Zhou Li), a representative of the forestry service, are brought in to investigate. They learn that Li was a military veteran who after leaving the service found a job as a forest ranger in a state-protected woodland. The locals soon learn that Li is a scrupulously honest man -- too honest for the taste of some, especially the Kong Family, who have been earning their living by illegally harvesting trees for years. Unlike his predecessors, Li isn't willing to look the other way in exchange for kickbacks, and Kong Yilong (Gao Changhao) decides Li should be punished for his failure to cooperate. When simple harassment and cutting off power and water to Li's home fail to change his mind, Kong Yinlong (Liu Xiaoxi) takes matters to the next level by attacking Li's wife Taohua (Zhu Yuanyuan); when the corrupt leader of the village (Liu Zifeng) refuses to come to Li's aid, the ranger is forced by circumstances to take the law into his own hands. Tiangou (aka The Forest Ranger) was screened in competition at the 2006 Shanghai Film Festival.