The genesis of the universe and everything in it is described by the ancient Chinese philosophy of the Five Elements: known as Wu Xing. Change is the only constant. Balance and harmony are the objectives. On a cinematic journey throughout China, traversing seasons and geographical touch points, we discover how the Five Elements, remain vibrant and relevant in contemporary times.

Everything in the universe is in a state of constant change; dynamic and infinite. Time, the seasons, nature itself; all are part of an eternal cycle. This is the basis of the ancient Chinese teachings of the Five Elements or “Wu Xing”; a holistic philosophy, closely linked to Daoism, thousands of years old but relevant as ever and perhaps even more so in the turbulent times of today. And not only in China. Studying and applying the Five Elements philosophy to daily life has become immensely popular throughout the world. But what is behind this eternal circle?  How and where can Wu Xing be found and experienced in contemporary China?

German director, Jan Hinrik Drevs and New Zealand Field Director & DOP, Mike Single embark on an extensive journey throughout China, searching for evidence of this millennia old system. An observational and experiential journey captured in stunning cinematic imagery. Two hundred shoot days traversing seasons and geographical touch points, passing through desert vastness, ice and snow, remote rural villages and populous mega-cities on a quest to understand an alternative approach to life; how we might achieve balance and harmony amidst the complexities and challenges of modernity. 

Balance of the Five Elements offers insight and fresh understanding of an ancient philosophy, culture, and society while pointing to an alternative approach to life and our place within the universe.


Documentary / Nature


1 x 100-minutes




New Zealand/ Germany/ China


Jan Hinrik Drevs

Field Director & Director of Photography

Mike Single


James Heyward, Christian Beetz, Kerstin Meyer-Beetz, Kong Weina, Guo Yeqi

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