Forster Juliette

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Gong Fu Dao — it's not about falling down, it's about standing up again

documentary film project by Juliette Forster, Switzerland 2011/12


A man and a woman, two touching biographies, the adaption to a foreign culture — a film about Kung Fu, the difficulties of life and the search for one′s own identity.
«Fight» tells the stories of a woman and a man who devoted much of their lives to Chinese Martial Arts. Both escaped from difficult situations, and both say their involvement with Kung Fu has changed their lives in a profound way. But now, they are again facing difficult challenges.
The protagonists are forced to search for a way to meet the demands of reality, without having to betray their ideals.
Gabrielle Boudreau lives in Chinatown, Montreal. As a young woman she experienced violence and drug addiction and from there her life could have easily gone down the drain. Then she discovered Kung Fu, through a friend, and vigorously started into a new life. These days, she is the head of a Martial Arts School in Montreal's Chinatown. She also works with marginalized young Inuits. Since she holds on to the though, traditional Chinese way of teaching, she has only a few students. Over the past years, the financial situation deteriorated to the point where Gabrielle is struggling to maintain her school. Still, she sticks to her principles, come what may. While others her age think about retirement, Gabrielle Boudreau considers starting over again.Tadzio Goldgewicht grew up in Rio de Janeiro as the son of a Jewish immigrant. A feeling of constant threat shaped his everyday life in Rio. Early on he became fascinated with Chinese Martial Arts. His identification with Chinese philosophy went so far that Brazil did not feel like home anymore and he emigrated to China. Similar to Gabrielle Boudreau, Tadzio immersed himself completely in the Chinese environment. However, after thirteen years in China he still feels like a stranger. Therefore, he plans to emigrate to Canada with his wife and daughter, to start a new life.
In order to contrast and at the same time complement Gabrielle Boudreau′s and Tadzio Goldgewicht′s stories, the documentary portrays the dissimilar life experiences of the Chinese Masters Li Jinsheng, Jing Lianzhen and Wang Bo.
By telling the stories of two strong personalities with very moving biographies, «Fight» observes how their involvement with Martial Arts, the ancient way of dealing with mind and body, is shaping their strategies for living and thereby exploring existential topics like autonomy and dependence, strength and weakness, fear and self-confidence, peacefulness and aggression. Ultimately, it′s about the search for one′s own identity.
«Fight» is a personal film, refusing simple answers and thus involving the audience in a (imaginary) dialogue.