Hot Docs 2017: Still Tomorrow Review

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Jian Fan’s Chinese-language documentary Still Tomorrow provides a snapshot into the life of famed poet Xiuhua Yu, who achieved recent fame and notoriety when her poetry, published on her blog, went viral. Living in the rural countryside of Hengdian, Hubei Province, and helping her family tend to their farm, she wouldn’t strike you as the kind of person to write a poem titled “Crossing half the country to sleep with you,” but she did. 

As discussed in the film, the title of the poem evokes adventure, loneliness, and sexual longing, which caused many Chinese citizens to click and read. While only a snapshot, Still Tomorrow is a worthy look into the complex make-up of a woman’s identity. She does not and will not have all the answers any time soon, but her struggle is one that we can learn from.

As Yu states on the press tour of her poetry collection, she does not accept her cerebral palsy and wishes that her face moved normally. As a child, spiritual advisors told her and her family that she was disabled as a result of some wrongdoing she committed in a past life. Yu does an admirable job speaking from the heart, showing that this shame was a “heavy mental burden” she carried through her twenty years in a loveless arranged marriage. At one point in the film Yu says, “If a woman cannot find love, her life is a failure.” Towards the end of the film, she indicates she has felt sorrow and loneliness, but it is something that she can work with now.

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At only an hour and a half, and only showcasing the life of a poet over a year or so, we can only see small steps towards self-fulfillment and self-compassion. I hope that Yu keeps moving forward in her journey and that we can catch up to her a few years from now.

Screening: 

Sat, Apr 29, 4:00 PM Scotiabank Theatre 4

Sun, Apr 30, 10:30 AM Scotiabank Theatre 3BUY TICKETS

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Sun, May 7, 1:45 PM Scotiabank Theatre 13

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