Goddess Of Fate (Mingyun nüshen): A Case Study of Multiple Narrative Strands in a Contemporary Chinese Film

Thumbnail Image
File version
Primary Supervisor

Hoffie, Pat

Farquhar, Mary

Other Supervisors

Lin, Nien-Sheng

File type(s)

This exegesis explains my film Goddess of Fate (Mingyun nüshen). I completed this film, in May 2007, as the studio project for the degree of Doctor of Visual Art at Griffith University. A Chinese experimental film, Goddess of Fate explores the mysteries of fate through the lives of two Taiwanese teenagers, a male and a female with very different life courses. The pair develops a surreal connection through a statue of the Goddess of Fate that with dream, prayer and imagery draws them together and ultimately leads to redemption. My film seeks to create a narrative that integrates three narrative strands from different traditions: classical Hollywood, Taoism or Chinese narrative more broadly, and Christian. As director of the film, I bring these three strands from my personal and filmmaking experiences and from my reflections on filmmaking theory and practice, which I explain in this exegesis. Here I address the research question: How are the multiple narrative traditions merged in my Chinese film Goddess of Fate? The theoretical field is cinema studies, with a focus on narrative. After discussing my personal background as a filmmaker and my interest in film narrative, I discuss narrative theory in Hollywood and Chinese experimental film, and then introduce the film’s two non-Hollywood narrative traditions, Taoist (as an element of Chinese narrative) and Christian. Within this context I follow with a detailed discussion of the merger of the three narrative strands in Goddess of Fate. Essentially, I conceptualise the narrative as two separate threads attached to the story line of the two main characters, Lin Hsi and Ching Ching. Lin’s storyline begins in the Hollywood mode, which is disrupted midway through the film. Ching Ching’s storyline is primarily Christian, told through Chinese, especially Taoist, narrative techniques. In the end, the two storylines merge. This bipolar and complementary method is well established in Chinese literary theory and practice. I aimed to create a special and original work of art in Goddess of Fate that blends my interest in Hollywood narrative and Chinese experimental film, my background in experimental filmmaking, and my personal Christian beliefs. The experimental focus in Goddess is on issues of narrative, a major aspect of film studies. Therefore, this exegesis explains how the multiple narrative traditions are merged in my Chinese film Goddess of Fate in the context of narrative theory in cinema studies. This exegesis is meant to be read in tandem with, or after, viewing Goddess of Fate. The film is highly visual, whereas this exegesis is verbal. To introduce a visual element into this exegesis, I make extensive use of stills that illustrate the non-verbal ways in which the various strands merge through symbolism and non-linear narrative. The merger of narrative strands from different times, cultures, traditions and media is perhaps ambitious. However, my film has already been selected for screenings at Asian and American film festivals. My film (attached as a DVD) and its interpretation in this exegesis contribute to our understanding of the integration of multiple narrative traditions in film studies and the experimental lineage of transnational Chinese cinema. Goddess of Fate has also contributed to my own personal growth as a filmmaker.

Journal Title
Conference Title
Book Title
Thesis Type

Thesis (Professional Doctorate)

Degree Program

Doctor of Visual Arts (DVA)


Griffith Film School

Publisher link
Patent number
Grant identifier(s)
Rights Statement
Rights Statement

The author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.

Item Access Status


Access the data
Related item(s)

narrative film







classic Hollywood cinema

Goddess of Fate


Persistent link to this record