“After I die, show your film at my funeral!” Zuogui, the director’s grandfather, is 86 years old and has been blind since childhood. Becoming a fortune teller was a way out of poverty for him. People are still coming to him for advice, including his son Donggu, a developer: “Dad, how is my fortune next year?” In his portrait of generations about his father and grandfather, Wei Deng depicts tradition and change, violence and alienation in Chinese society.
Pale greys and dim lights create an atmosphere that seems to correspond to the dark memories of famine, dead siblings and the violently enforced one-child policy. The camera stays close to the grandfather as he feels his way along the walls of his flat. Orienting himself in his own environment has become harder since Donggu had the old house torn down and a new one built. Zuogui has little use for the modern China that claims to stand for economic boom and prosperity. Only when another of his son’s developments, which the fortune teller had warned against, threatens to fail does affection between the two seem possible again.