Knife in the Clear Water
A woman is buried with the Muslim Hui Chinese in northwestern China. Her husband and son with wife and children are left behind. They live in the open countryside and are very poor. They only have a few chickens and a bull. The son wants to sacrifice the bull at a ceremony in honor of his mother. The father visibly has difficulty with that, but respects his wish.The bull feels his death and stops eating and drinking. He sees "the knife in the clear water" that he is supposed to drink.
The final shots take one’s breath away, transporting audiences into a symbolic realm where the old man’s inner landscape mirrors the barren, snow-blanketed exterior, inviting viewers to wonder whether he is at peace or has his heart frozen after losing everything.