This ethnographical film paints the portrait of a Taoist monk in central China. Forced to return to a lay life during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), he was sent to work in the fields for 15th years. In the 1980s, he was able to resume his life as a monk. Soon considered as an eminent master, he chose to decline some prestigious positions offers in order to devote himself to the rebuilding of temples destroyed during the period of religious suppression.
The film begins when he has finished to restore his 3rd temple and, without benefiting from the convenience that he has installed there, he starts elsewhere with another temple, and began the whole process again. He speaks about fengshui (the auspicious aspect of a place) “which changes with time” and lays marble on the floor of the worship halls of this monastery lost in very remote mountains, because “today we are living in good times”. In an unexpected way, the temple becomes “a driving force for the local economy” : its presence allow a local touristic development project to be launched for the area ; a new village is built from scratch in front of the temple. Many villagers come to consult Master Feng as people from far away for all sort of requests, and notably for the interpretation of oracles; he helps them to adapt to the rapid changes of Chinese society. He practices self-cultivation and seeks to be “a free man” who try to lead “a life without pressure”.
In the 2019 RAI Film Fest
Language and subtitlesChinese - subtitles in English