Walking the Chinese Countryside

Author Anusha Venkatachalam
Published June 2021
Location Sichuan

China’s grand-scale cities are a binary opposition of its quiet, unexplored countryside. Rural space in China is built on the foundation of NEED, while urban space is built on the foundation of WANT. It is this very juxtaposition that proved beneficial during the COVID crisis, as rural China remained unaffected by food and water shortages. Exploring this central theme, Lin Xi, a local Sichuanese walks to her family farm in North-West Sichuan Province, trailing through the quintessential countryside. On her way, she interacts with locals and foreigners, reflecting on not just structural, but also lifestyle differences between urban and rural spaces.

About the filmmaker

  • ANUSHA VENKATACHALAM IYER, Originally from India, Anusha worked in the non-fiction film industry, before quitting her job to travel Asia. She first visited Sichuan Province in 2018 on a two-week volunteer programme at a pig farm. Two years since, she continues her romance with the Chinese countryside, documenting the varying interpretations of “sustainability” in the country.

About the protagonist

  • LIN XI is a bona fide Sichuanese; whose family runs one of the biggest farms in the area. Having grown up in rural China during the 90s, Lin Xi has witnessed her village develop beyond recognition over the years. Today, she works in Chengdu and like many young Chinese, is caught between Urban dreams and Rural simplicity in the post-COVID era.