Through the Looking Glass

March 05, 2019

The speaker, Yi Cui, will introduce a few works made by Tibetan herdsmen, monks and young students, and will discuss her observations and analyses developed while she worked in the local Tibetan communities working with people making their own films.

Through the Looking Glass captures the moment of a small festival organised by herdsmen and monks on a pasture in Golok to present films they themselves have made. This small celebration brings together Tibetan villagers, many of whom had to travel long distances on foot or horseback to attend the screenings. While at the festival, I was told by so many villagers how much they loved to see their own lives on the screen, and how they enjoyed it much more than what is on TV or in movie theatres.” (Yi Cui). On the heights of a Tibetan pasture, monks, shepherds and children gather in the evening. A large screen billows in the wind, the centre of attention for all eyes. Having made Of Shadows about a travelling shadow theatre (competed at Cinéma du réel 2016), the filmmaker here captures the nuances of passing day and night. Surely, these must be costumes given that everything, down to the tiniest bark of a dog, is decked with an exhilarating bustle. Then a tremor of laughter runs through the audience. By delaying the reverse shot of what everyone is getting ready to watch, Yi Cui brings back the pleasure of the dispositif of cinema’s early days, which still keeps the lightness of its fairground beginnings. (Charlotte Garson)


Yi Cui is a term lecturer at School for the Contemporary Arts, Simon Fraser University. Yi was born and raised in northwest China and currently lives between her homeland and Canada. Before starting to make films, she worked in conservation ecology. She received her MFA in Film and Video from York University in Toronto. Her body of work consists of experimental, documentary, narrative and essay films. The constant search for poetics in film medium is a recurring theme in her films.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019


SFU Burnaby
Academic Quadrangle
AQ 5067
8888 University Drive, Burnaby

Free and open to all

Light refreshments provided

For more information, visit SFU Sociology & Anthropology's website here.


  • SFU David See-chai Lam Centre
  • Department of Sociology & Anthropology