Director’s Spotlight: Wang Bing
as one of the foremost figures in documentary filmmaking, Chinese
director Wang Bing presents his first work of fiction, The Ditch, at ADFF.
epic documentary West of the Tracks won the Grand Prix at
the Marseille Festival of Documentary Film in 2003. Over nine hours
in length, the film was filmed over the course of two years,
between 1999 and 2001, and details the slow decline of Shenyang's
industrial Tiexi district, an area that was once a vital example of
China's socialist economy.
a Chinese Memoir(2007)
dealt at length with China's anti-rightist campaign. The film
consists almost entirely of an interview with the elderly He
Fengming, who recounts her experiences in post-1949 China. 2008's
Crude Oil was filmed in the Mongolian part of the Gobi
Desert, and follows a group of oil-field workers as they go about
their daily routine. It is notable for its extreme length of 14
the end of the 1950s, The Ditch was shot in secret, and
saw the director revisiting the Gobi Desert. It chronicles the fate
of thousands of Chinese citizens - considered right-wing dissidents
for their criticism of the Communist party or their background -
who were deported to the Jiabiangou and Mingshui camps in Western
China. Condemned to digging a ditch hundreds of miles long in
winter, many died as a result of grueling physical labor, extreme
climactic conditions and food shortages.
perhaps the first film to deal directly with contemporary China's
political past, talking about the Rightists and what they endured
in the re-education camps," said the documentarist. "It's a film
that brings dignity to those who suffered."