10th edition CIFF – 10-14 April 2024

Dragonfly Eyes (2018 Feature Film)

XU Bing | China | 2017 | color | DCP | 81′ | Chinese, English | e.s.

Chinese artist Xu Bing’s directorial debut could be described as The Truman Show, but in Real Life. He weaves a story of a boy and a girl in modern-day China out of security camera footage. This by turns shocking and poetic, but always fascinating, experiment reflects on our obsessive visual culture.

Chinese artist Xu Bing compiled his directorial debut from thousands of hours of footage from security cameras. With poet Zhai Yongming and screenwriter Zhang Hanyi he weaves a story involving two characters around these images. The young woman, Qing Ting (her name means ‘dragonfly’), leaves a Buddhist monastery and moves to the city. There she meets Ke Fan, and an intense friendship evolves. Will it become more than that?

Many asides are presented through security and dash cam footage – by turns frightening, poetic and mundane. For example, a girl is so immersed in her telephone that she doesn’t realize she’s walking straight towards a pond. A cow also clambers out of a moving truck, then stands somewhat lost in the middle of the motorway. 

In this non-fiction version of The Truman Show, everyone is an actor without knowing it, and Bing delivers a commentary on (in)visibility, our obsessive media culture and contemporary China.

Place: The Cinemas 3

Date: 12 April 2018

Time: 13:30

Duration: 1:03

Place: The Cinemas 3

Date: 14 April 2018

Time: 21:45

Duration: 1:03

Place: The Cinemas 3

Date: 15 April 2018

Time: 12:45

Duration: 1:03

Year in



XU Bing




Matthieu Laclau
Zhang Wenchao






Hanno Yoshihiro


Xu Bing
Zhai Yongming
Matthieu Laclau

Production Company

Xu Bing Studio


Movie View


Zhai Yongming
Zhang Hanyi

Sound Design

Li Danfeng

Year of Production


XU Bing (1955, China) studied at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing, receiving both his BA and MA. He works within a wide array of media, such as printmaking skills, calligraphy, installation pieces and sculpture, and also worked as a teacher. He resided in the United States from 1990, after his work was perceived as a critique on the Chinese government. In 2008, he returned as the vice-president of the CAFA. Xu has held many solo exhibitions and won many awards including the MacArthur Fellowship and the 2014 Department of State-Medal of Arts. Dragonfly Eyes (2017) is his first film.



Qing ting zhi yan/Dragonfly Eyes (2017)