The saddest film that doesn’t have a war in the center that I’ve seen so far: scenes from the life of the disabled living in abject poverty in China. Li Baicheng, the main character, is a fortuneteller, an ancient profession that had been outlawed. Forced to make his living in the shadows, he caters to the other marginalized, like prostitutes, and moves around on crutches. His wife Pearl is deaf, mute, and has development issues both mentally and physically. Li Baicheng bought her from her relatives who made her live in the street, and their relationship is both very sweet and harrowing.
I am a person who isn’t easily affected. I can watch any kind of fictional gore and I have become desensitized to world violence as a coping mechanism. But this film really made an impact and turned something inside of me. It raised a lot of questions but also just made me understand that life and little pleasures will grow everywhere, like weak grass through the asphalt. My heart was full and drained after watching, all at the same time.
Fortune Teller (算命), 2010
Director: Xu Tong