Kristina Inčiūraitė, “The Echo of a Shadow” (Šešėlio aidas), 2015, experimental documentary, 18 min.
Because of increasing economic growth in China, construction is widespread there – new cities and extensions of existing ones are appearing on China’s horizon. However, rapidly growing housing developments are not promising a better and more comfortable life as quickly as expected. In China the phenomenon of ghost cities has arisen. It happens mostly in locations where expensive apartments have been offered for sale without infrastructure development. One of such examples is the thematic real estate object – the housing development of Tianducheng, a smaller scale replica of Paris with an Eiffel Tower that was built in 2007 on the outskirts of Hangzhou, a few hundred kilometers from Shanghai.
In order to reflect this “problematic” situation in the film “The Echo of a Shadow”, Inčiūraitė describes it by choosing the metaphor of illness and looks back at women poets of late-imperial China who wrote about their experiences of being sick. In the film a few poems by Chinese poet Gan Lirou (1743-1819) are presented, in which she articulates the experiences of being sick. Her poems, which are written during different phases of her life (in youth and in older age), draw the conclusion that by sending away idle sorrow that arose during illness, its possible to “recover naturally without any medicine”.
Another example chosen for the film is from the movie “Longing for the Rain” (2013) by Chinese director Yang Lina, where the main character is debilitated in a different way – in the present commercialized epoch the woman becomes a passive consumer, who begins longing for deeper experiences capable of enriching her flat and materially provided life. The ghost-man is located inside the woman’s soul and visits her in her dreams. And her dreams become much more realistic than her true life. Afraid of becoming mad, the woman appeals to a Taoist monk for help – she wants him to cure her soul.
In the film “The Echo of a Shadow” Inčiūraitė transforms an excerpt of a monologue by the Taoist monk as she tries to find the best solution to the problem of how to cure the contemporary woman. Her inner ghost-man transforms into a ghost-cat and finally into the ghost-cricket that “saves” her soul. The heroes of this film are found at the Wanshang Huaniao market in Shanghai. There are various animals for sale, especially crickets. A huge number of crickets chirp in various baskets, gourds and cases. The ghost-crickets come out from the shadow kingdom of simulacra and become soul healers.
(c) Kristina Inčiūraitė, “Kristinos Inčiūraitės studija”, 2015