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Ghostly spirits, healing insects, birds predicting the future, the animal kingdom and its powers are still present and influential in Chinese culture. The gigantic scale of building complexes and the oversized look of new cities have not done away with earlier beliefs in a supernatural, parallel world which dialogues with reality.

Kristina lnciuraite

The Echo of a Shadow 

2015, 18 mn

ln China the phenomenon of ghost cities has arisen. lt happens mostly in locations where expensive apartments have been offered for sale without infrastructure development. One of such examples is the housing development of Tianducheng, a smaller scale replica of Paris with an Eiffel Tower that was built in 2007 on the outskirts of Hangzhou. ln order to reflect this “problematic” situation in the film, lnciuraite describes it by choosing the metaphor of illness and looks back at women poets of late-imperial China who wrote about their experiences of being sick.

 

Another example chosen for the film is from the movie “Longing for the Rain” (2013) by Chinese director Yang Lina, where the main character is debilitated in a different way - in the present commercialized epoch the woman becomes a passive consumer, who begins longing for deeper experiences capable of enriching her flat and materially provided life. The ghost-man is located inside the woman’s soul and visits her in her dreams. And her dreams become much more realistic than her true life. Afraid of becoming mad, the woman appeals to a Taoist monk for help - she wants him to cure her soul.

 

ln the film “The Echo of a Shadow” lnciuraite transforms an excerpt of a monologue by the Taoist monk as she tries to find the best solution to the problem of how to cure the contemporary woman. Her inner ghost-man transforms into a ghost-cat and finally into the ghost-cricket that “saves” her soul. The heroes of this film are found at the Wanshang Huaniao market in Shanghai. There are various animals for sale, especially crickets. The ghost-crickets become soul “healers” - they awake sleepy sensations or even offer an alternative wild world for people who wish to run away from the restrictions of social stratification and commercialization. KI

Sun Cunming

Box of Life

2014, 4 mn 12

A traditional Chinese good luck story teller opens his magic box and predicts my future using a bird. SC

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