Private Project

Ani, The nuns of Yaqen gar

In the mid-80s Akhyuk Lama, a Buddhist monk, went to meditate on the sacred plateau of eastern Tibet. Little by little countless pilgrims joined him, thus founding Yaqen gar, an immense “Buddhist settlement” where about 20,000 monastics reside, two thirds of them are nuns. It is a holy site that the Chinese government wants to demolish. The female quarter is a village made up of shacks, the nuns are of all ages and are united by the same spiritual quest and desire for emancipation, many of them belong to the Chinese Han ethnic group. The director is the only Western woman to have managed to live alongside them, she stayed in Yaqen gar for a month, despite the police searches. She recounts the life they lead in this very special place that may soon cease to exist.

  • Eloïse Barbieri
  • Roberto Dall'Angelo
  • Francesco Adolini
  • Matteo Cremolini
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  • Runtime:
    53 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    February 21, 2019
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Director Biography - Eloïse Barbieri

I am a passionate mountaineer and traveller; I often choose to travel alone, believing that this is the only way to integrate fully into a community. I have crossed a large part of Tibet, northern India, Pakistan and Nepal alone and on foot. I was part of the first all-female expedition to attempt to cross the entire Hielo Continental in Patagonia and was a member of the first climbing expedition to return to the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan after 20 years. I have climbed three 8000 meters peaks without supplementary oxygen in addition to numerous peaks around the world. In 2008 I quit my job as a marketing manager to become an independent filmmaker.
I am specialized in ethnographic documentary production. I travel alone and realize all the shooting myself.

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Director Statement

My most interesting work includes: “Nenet, the nomads of the tundra” (2008) shot in Siberia alongside the reindeer herdsmen during one of the last and most fascinating transhumance on Earth and “On my footsteps, a journey to the other Afghanistan” (2015) shot in the Afghan Pamir during the hard winter months. Since 2016 I produce and realize a series of documentaries for GEO, broadcasted everyday on RAI 3, the Italian national broadcasting channel.