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Fortune Teller (8+ Recommended)

Sat 16 Mar 2024 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm


Red Lecture Theatre
Age Group: PG
Unreserved seated event. For access information please contact the venue directly. Contains Strong Language & References to Sex Work

Fortune Teller (2009) stands out as one of the most exceptional works among early Chinese independent documentaries. Focused on a fortune teller, the film employs a narrative structure akin to classical Chinese novels, with each chapter highlighting different aspects. It provides a comprehensive portrayal of the lives of marginalized individuals in China, including prostitutes, gamblers, beggars, and the disabled. With limited control over their lives, these vagrants often resort to mystical forces as tools to interpret their destinies. Through this, the fortune teller, Li Baicheng, effectively links various characters through his profession.

Director Xu Tong is renowned for his depiction of China’s vagrants. Assuming the persona of a ‘vagrant’ himself, he immerses himself in the lives of his subjects, embodying an independent filmmaking ethos of ‘vagrants shooting vagrants’. Without passing moral judgments or excessively critiquing society, Xu approaches his subjects with respect and understanding. He captures the raw essence of their lives and their courageous struggle for survival, fostering a deep experiential understanding of a fragile world and nurturing a profound sense of equality among the audience.

Q&A to follow screening

"An exhaustive case history on the marginalization of the poor and disabled under Chinese capitalism"Ronnie Scheib, Variety
"A complete immersion into their deceptively simple world in the countryside of northern China"Ada Tseng, Asia Pacific Arts
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