EN - The failures of the ethnographic endeavor to discover reality are revealed in this expository and experimental film. The narrator-ethnographer embarks on an expedition to encounter the Mosou, an isolated and matrilinear tribe in the mountains of South West China. Their society is built on the principle of the axia-relationship, ties between visitors of the night. This means that a man only stays in his wife¹s house at night and during the day he works for the benefit of his grandmother. Since men and women do not have economical obligations, their unique, polyandric relationships are based on love only. Recently due to funding by the Han government, The Lugo region has turned into a major touristic area, where tradition and modernity clash - particularly when the polyandry of the Mosuo is seen as prostitution by outsiders. Van Dienderen playfully reveals the distance between textual knowledge and the experience of a cinematographic journey in a thoughtful and fascinating documentary.


Title Visitors of the Night
Original title Nachtelijke bezoekers
Original language Dutch, Chinese
Status Completed
Production Majority Flemish
Category Docs
Genre anthropological documentary
Year 1998


Photography Didier Volckaert, Karen Van Der Borght, An van. Dienderen
Editing Didier Volckaert
Music Etnic Mosuo Music

Technical specs

Running time film 34'
Release format Betacam SP
Sound format Dolby SR
Colour Colour


Supported by the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF)
Production partners Elektrischer Schnellseher (BE)


2011: Exhibition 'Poetics of Observation, SIC' - Netwerk Aalst (BE)

2008: Elles tournent! Festival Brussels (BE); B-Docs (BE); Extrapool Nijmegen (NL)

2007: Documentary reframed - Paved Arts - curator Maureen Latta (CA)

2001: Cinema Nova Brussels (BE)

2000: S.M.A.K. Ghent (BE); Rio de Janeiro (BR); Albion College (US); Marlboro College (US); Donell Public Library NY (US)

1999: Margaret Mead Festival New York (US); PFA Berkely (US); Belluard Festival Fribourg (CH)


1999: GNT Channel television Prize for Language Renewal (BR); Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival Award New York (US)

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Last edited on 22 June 2017

Short info

Director An van. Dienderen
Producers Sophie Schoukens, Jan Roekens
Writers An van. Dienderen

Jan Roekens
Varkensmarkt 30/bus H4
1000 Brussels
T +32 2 223 04 79
T +32 2 219 50 63

Preferential partners