France, China, Germany
Mrs. Fang, a seventy something former farmer from rural southeast China, has been suffering from Alzheimer’s for several years. Wang went in that area because he was interested the people living there, barely scraping out a living with their fishing activities. One of them was Mrs Fang’s daughter. He visits her modest family home on two separate occasions: in 2015, when Mrs Fang is already unable to speak but seems in good health and one year later, when he finds her bedridden, unable to speak, almost motionless, just skin and bones. Her eyes always open seem already contemplating another world. What’s going on in her mind? Her family and neighbors surround her, discussing her funeral or talking of the small mundane worries they have. These will be Mrs Fang’s ten final days of life.
Wang Bing, arguably one of the best contemporary directors of documentaries, is not in a hurry when he approaches his subjects. Before shooting he spends time with people, as much time as it takes to make himself and his camera invisible. He doesn't interfere, he watches, he waits for the story to unfold and eventually leads the viewer where he wants him to be. What matters to him is to tell the story of marginalized people, with kindness and respect, the same he grants to Mrs Fang, even in the most disturbing close-ups. Intercutting her agony with fishing sequences, the director may hint to another agony the one of people whose life is reduced to mere survival.
Director: Bing Wang
Producer: Pierre-Olivier Bardet, Wang Yang, Lihong Kong
Director of Photography: Bing Wang, Xiaohui Shan, Bihan Ding
Editor: Bing Wang, Dominique Auvray
Sound: Bing Wang, Xiaohui Shan, Emmanuel Soland, Bihan Ding
Production Company: Idéale Audience, Wil Productions
Born in Xi’an in the Province of Shaanxi, China, in 1967, Wang Bing studied photography at the Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts and cinematography at the Beijing Film Academy. He began his career as an independent filmmaker in 1999. Discovered in 2003, Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks (2002), an enormous documentary work of more than nine hours length, encountered a great success internationally. Besides feature documentaries (Three Sisters, 2012; ‘Til Madness Do Us Part, 2013; Ta’ang, 2016) he directed the fiction feature The Ditch (2010), several art videos such as Man with No Name (2009) and embarked on a remarkable series of photographs. His work has been selected in many film festivals where he won a great number of awards.
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