Shangri-La, Paradise Under Construction
In this essayistic travelogue, filmmakers Mirka Duijn and Nina Spiering explore the history of Shangri-La, the famous imaginary paradise. Two decades ago, in Deqing, a Tibetan region in China, evidence was allegedly found that the original, legendary Shangri-La is located there. A place imagined by British writer James Hilton, who wrote about it in his 1933 novel Lost Horizon. In the world-famous story - also filmed by Frank Capra in 1937 - four people are stranded in the Kunlun Mountains after a plane crash, where they find a beautiful monastery: earth’s paradise. Pure fiction, in other words.
In search of the truth, Mirka Duijn travels to the mountains of Tibetan China, but instead of getting answers, the maker gets entangled in a web of facts and fictions, truths and fabrications about the place and its colonial past. The film offers a critical look at tourism, media and even documentary filmmaking itself.