Age, height, education

9 minutes

Matchmaking is big business at an outdoor Shanghai dating market

Every day in People’s Square in the heart of Shanghai, parents of marriage-aged single children trawl through handwritten personal advertisements and consult the professional matchmakers who ply their trade in what has become a vibrant if unofficial marriage market. The matchmakers’ questions are terse and practical – Has your daughter been married before? Does your son own a home? The parents answer in hopes of finding love for their children – or, at the very least, respectable, suitable partners. While these parent-arranged dates are mostly tolerated by China’s younger generation – who nonetheless rarely accompany their parents on these match-seeking missions – some old attitudes seem to be shifting amid the tide of urbanisation and Westernisation. Combining observational footage and revealing interviews with parents and matchmakers at the park, the Australian director Kate Lefoe’s Age, Height, Education offers a charming and incisive glimpse into the changing culture of courtship in modern China.

Director: Kate Lefoe

Producer: Xu Chuan Nan

Get Aeon straight
to your inbox
Join our newsletter
Aeon is not-for-profit
and free for everyone
Make a donation
The theory of mind myth

Even experts can’t predict violence or suicide. Surely we’re kidding ourselves that we can see inside the minds of others

Robert Burton

Social Psychology
In extremis

As Hannah Arendt argued, there is one common thread which connects individuals drawn to all kinds of extremist ideologies

Nabeelah Jaffer