Gulu is an idyllic village perched precariously on the edge of a cliff in China's Sichuan province. Isolated and without electricity or contact to the outside world until a track is built in 2004, it is heaven on earth to its inhabitants. For over 26 years, substitute teacher Shen has happily presided over the village's primary school – that is, until a young, idealistic volunteer teacher named Bao appears on the scene.
Bao is full of utopian visions, Che Guevara-inspired revolutionary ideas and Don Quixote fantasies. The teachers clash almost immediately over proposed improvements to the town and funds earmarked to build a new school. They force parents and students to choose sides, all in the name of pride. A "first contact" story about intergenerational misunderstanding and disrespect, On the Rim of the Sky is an epic take on the problems of outsider versus insider, youth versus experience and trust versus suspicion.
This film documents the changes that take place in Gulu over a period of four years and describes the people's spiritual needs and material requirements. The changes in Gulu village reflect the larger changes that are taking place in China as a whole.