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A New Old Play

One evening in the 1980s, Qiu Fu, a leading clown-role actor in 20th-century Sichuan opera, departs this world and must reluctantly set off for the Ghost City under escort of two underworld officials. Along the way, he meets old friends. As they recall the past, earthly scenes creep into the mists of the Netherworld.

Qiu Fu’s life in opera unfolds against the backdrop of a secular upheaval. The "New-New'' Troupe in which he grows up and learns his trade is affiliated with the military. As power shifts, the troupe is cast loose to wander rootlessly through a broken world. Despite this unsettled destiny, shaped by war, famine and political turmoil, Qiu Fu becomes one of the finest clown-role performers in Sichuan opera. And yet, one day he finds himself clapped in a pigsty as a political revolutionrages outside.

Outside the Ghost City, sitting among familiar faces, Qiu Fu drinks the mandatory bowl of Forgetfulness Soup to erase his memory. A lifetime of hardship, pain and sorrow, all vanish as if they had never been.

Locarno International Film Festival 2021 Winner Special Prize of the Jury : International Competition

Rating

Unclassified 15+

Duration

179

Language

English & Chinese subtitles

Director

Qiu Jiongjiong

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