Himalayan Gold Rush

Directed by Eric Valli, 2011, France, 0:52, French/Tibetan with English Subtitles

 

High in the Tibetan Plateau, a new type of mad dash for limited resources has caused local authorities to scramble and the population to earn unprecedented income for the region. But instead of gold or another precious metal, this time the 'gold rush' is inspired by Ophiocordyceps sinesis, a strange symbiosis of fungus and moth larvae – and worth more than its weight in gold. This ‘caterpillar fungus’ is so prized as an aphrodisiac and cure-all remedy in traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicine that thousands of men, women and children brave the elements each spring, competing to harvest it. Himalayan Gold Rush follows the efforts of several Nepalese people who must climb higher and higher and compete more and more fiercely each year to gather this fungus, which is both a boon and burden to their country.

 

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