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Mirrors and Feathers (The Widowed Witch)

Cai Chengjie
Xiao gua fu cheng xian ji
China 2018 / 120’
Longing Mrs. Hyde

Erhao's life has for years been marked by suffering and pain. As a result of an unfortunate series of events, her third husband, Dayong, dies during an explosion at the fireworks factory that they depended on survival. It also burned down their home, but Erhao miraculously survived. In order to regain her strength and get back on her feet after the accident, she moves in with her family. This all turns out to be an illusion: shortly after arriving at their home, she's raped by her brother-in-law. Marked by failure and wanting to alter her cruel fate, she decides to traverse northern China in search of her place in the world. Debut director Cai Chengjie's Mirrors and Feathers (The Widowed Witch) won the main prize at the most recent Rotterdam Festival. The Chinese director has created a fairy tale about a woman who, despite her misfortunes and rejection, constantly fights for a better tomorrow. The strong protagonist and feminist point of view are inseparable elements of this tragic story. In a way that is not at all obvious, Cai uses colors, waking and dream states, as well as shamanistic symbols, to create a raw and inscrutable world.

Sławomir Wasiński


Rotterdam IFF 2018 - Best Film

Cai Chengjie

Cai Chengjie was born in China in 1980. He has worked as a director for Chinese television. Mirrors and Feathers (The Widowed Witch), his feature debut, won the main prize at the Rotterdam Festival.


2018 Lustra i pióra / Xiao gua fu cheng xian ji / Mirrors and Feathers (The Widowed Witch)

Cast & Crew

director Cai Chengjie
screenplay Cai Chengjie
cinematography Jiao Feng
editing Li Cheng
music Jin Weiye, Li Qiang
cast Tian Tian, Wen Xinyu, Yang Shuyou
producer Jiao Feng, Hu Xiaotao
production Beijing Glazed Sky Production, iQiyi Motion Pictures(Beijing) Co.
sales Rediance
language Mandarin
colouration colour & b&w