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Fortune Teller

Xu Tong

Release year: 2010

Run time: 157 mins

Film type: Documentary


For four seasons, this confrontational documentary follows Li Baicheng, a traditional Chinese soothsayer, and his deaf and dumb, mentally and physically handicapped wife Little Pearl. In a village not far from Beijing, Li predicts the future for his clientele, which seems primarily to consist of prostitutes. When the police start clamping down on both the sex industry and illegal soothsayers, he feels forced to return with Little Pearl to his home village. The narrative is structured in chapters, a formal reference to the popular fiction of the Qing dynasty.


Director biography

Xu Tong, born in Beijing in 1965. In 1983, attended the Journalism and Photography programme at the Communication University of China. Xu currently resides and works in Beijing. He made documentaries "Wheat Harvest," "Fortune Telling," and "Shattered" collectively referred to as the Nomad Trilogy. Subsequently he completed the documentaries "The Fourth Brother" and "Cut Out the Eyes." He has participated in numerous domestic and international film festivals, receiving awards. In 2011, he was awarded as the "Cultural China Person of the Decade" by the Oriental Morning Post. In 2013, the novel "Treasure Island" was published by the Yangtze Literature and Art Publishing House.