Articles from the Boston Compass, Boston Compass, Film

BIG3 FILM: Wang Bing

11/9 & 11/10 @ the HFA



Fri 11/9 & Sat 11/10 @ HFA

Director in person!

$12 per night


The Harvard Film Archive will be presenting two works from Wang Bing, the most renowned filmmaker of China’s New Documentary Movement and one the of the world’s foremost documentarians. Most of his works can be described as monumental, and these two are no exception. The filmmaker himself will be present for discussion.


Wang’s work is focused largely and intimately across China’s immense geography, on peoples and histories that are sometimes forgotten, swept up by immense political and cultural change. Wang’s camera captures the details of his subjects as closely as possible, whether it be the terrain of the Gobi Desert or the face of a dying matriarch. He follows them in extended, almost persistent takes, until the filmed scene becomes something heightened and visceral—a living object. Through this intense exploration, Wang exposes viewers to the soul of the camera’s subject, their hidden narratives and forgotten stories.


The two films presented in this series, Mrs. Fang (2017) and Dead Souls (2018), represent a dichotomy in Wang’s oeuvre. The former, his shortest work to date, captures the experience of a dying woman and her family, while the latter—at a staggering 8 hours—captures the experiences of a generation of survivors of a “re-education camp” in northwestern China. In both cases, Wang bears witness to these stories, providing a platform for reflection, emotion, truth, and immense humanity, all displayed and memorialized in light and shadow.


Nicholas Perry


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