Chris Kennedy

“Of Shadows.” August 27, 2016

Of Shadows
dir. Yi Cui | China/Canada 2016 | 80 min. | video

Yi Cui’s captivating documentary follows a group of shadow-play puppeteers through their travels in the Loess Plateau in northwest China. Representatives of a more intimate, traditional form of storytelling in the face of contemporary media spectacle, the troupe also remains committed to a nomadic lifestyle that is becoming ever more difficult to maintain in a rapidly and relentlessly modernizing China. Shadow play has long been an interest of Cui’s (this is her third film on the subject), and her spare, subtle documentary style offers a visual correlative with the two-dimensional shadow puppetry, employing deep-focus long takes to create multiple planes within the image, an effect aided by the plateau’s striking landscapes. A warm, sincere, and sympathetic portrait of a vanishing breed of craftsmen, Of Shadows is a moving dispatch on the imperilled existence (and stubborn endurance) of a wondrous artistic tradition.

Yi Cui in person.

Saturday, August 27 1:30pm