True Films

Silk Road


Even in Marco Polo’s time the Silk Road between Europe and China wove through vast desert wildernesses and sparsely populated steppes. It was a tough and lonely journey then, and unlike most travels in 2004, it still is a journey through grand nothingness. Because it has always been so remote, the ruins of those ancient days lay near our modern touch now. One can still find bits of silk hundreds of years old fluttering in the sand at ruins on the old road. In 1979 the Chinese government and NHK, the Japanese TV station, teamed up to make a well-financed expedition to explore the Silk Road within the Chinese borders, and the resulting documentary remains the best orientation to what remains of that ancient route. The big surprise is the extent of Buddhism in the lands we now imagine as classically Islamic. Think of those Buddhists’ statues in Afghanistan. At times this 12-hour (!) extravagant travelogue plods as slow as a Chinese propaganda movie, and the soundtrack is inexplicably scored by the new age celebrity musician Kitaro, but Central Asia is looming on the horizon as the political hot-spot of this new century, so better get your maps out as the caravan trudges along.

— KK

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Silk Road
1990, 600 min.
$190, DVD (used)

Rent from GreenCine

Rent from Netflix

Available from Amazon

Posted September 22, 2004 at 3:04 am | comments
| in category History


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