Miners, the Horsekeeper and Pneumoconiosis

Released in April 2020, the “Miners, the Horsekeeper and Pneumoconiosis” documentary details the story of a Chinese man dying of lung disease after working in an illegal iron ore. The village in which the man worked was heavily reliant on the illegal mining industry for a living, subjecting its citizens to the ills of illegal explosives and unprotected exposure to the open mine. Director and native Hunan Jiang Ningxie documented the man’s last days as well as the life of the Hunan villagers in the context of their relationship to the illegal mining industry and the prominent disease that many miners contracted as a result. What sets this film apart is its use of the digital sphere as the sole platform for distribution; Ningxie refused to submit the film for approval under China’s censorship regime, citing that the work would be far too altered to show the reality of illegal mining in central China. Instead, the documentary was proliferated for free through private download links. The only downside to this method of proliferation is that the documentary is not readily accessible to all those who wish to watch it, let alone the public. Such innovative use of the digital space not only defies political censorship of destructive industries, but also proposes a novel use of e-commons within the traditional film industry.


Aesthetic/Leisure, Illegal Resource Extraction, Lifestyle