Wang Bing: Retrospective

Wang Bing, Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks (2003)

A documenta 14 film program and exhibition
June 7–September 17, Gloria-Kino, daily

documenta 14 presents a full retrospective of Wang Bing’s films with an accompanying exhibition of archival materials. Born in 1967 in Shaanxi Province in China, Wang Bing belongs to a generation of independent filmmakers whose work was provoked by the democratic movements that emerged around the time of the Tiananmen Square student protest in 1989.

He constructs alternative, image-based narratives that run counter to mainstream discourses on present-day China, capturing in minute detail the difficult socioeconomic conditions of life under an authoritarian regime that is going through a rapid process of social and economic transformation, shifting from the implementation of socialist to liberal economic policies. Wang Bing’s cinematic debut Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks (2003) charts the economic demise of one of the most densely populated industrial areas in the northeast of China. Once the heart of the planned economy, with its labor-intensive state-owned industry of blast furnaces and steelworks, it now remains stuck between Communist heritage and a more capitalist future. Economic reforms and bankruptcies have only lead to demolition and vacancies, leaving behind hordes of desperate workers. Complementing the regular screening of the West of the Tracks trilogy is a series of photographs taken by the artist that capture the film in the making.

Wang Bing’s more recent works, Ku Qian: Bitter Money (2016) and 15 Hours (2017), follow the rural workers who moved to the city of Huzhou in Zhejiang Province to work in its garment processing factories, corporations that employ around two hundred thousand migrant workers a year under highly exploitative conditions. The filmmaker has also been dealing with China’s political past. Focused on the Anti-Rightist Movement of the late 1950s and its consequences, Wang Bing has collected material evidence and recorded witness testimonies over many years in the attempt to trace the imprisonment of intellectuals and artists in education and labor camps, many of whom died of exhaustion, starvation, and illness—as described and reflected in the works He Fengming (2007), Jiabiangou: The Ditch (2010), and Yizhi: Traces (2014). The accompanying exhibition includes some of these visual documents and written testimonies.


Mondays
10 am: Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks, Part I: “Rust” (2003), PR China, 240 min. Mandarin [English subtitles]
2:15 pm: Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks, Part II: “Remnants” (2003), PR China, 176 min. Mandarin [English subtitles]
5:30 pm: Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks, Part III: “Rails” (2003), PR China, 135 min. Mandarin [English subtitles]

Tuesdays
10 am and 4:30 pm: He Fengming (2007), Hong Kong (PR China), 184 min. Mandarin [English subtitles]
1:15 pm and 4 pm: Yizhi: Traces (2014), Hong Kong (PR China), 25 min. Mandarin [English subtitles]
2 pm: Jiabiangou: The Ditch (2010), Hong Kong (PR China)/France/Belgium, 112 min. Mandarin [English subtitles]

Wednesdays*
10 am, 2 pm, and 6 pm: Tong dao: Coal Money (2009), Hong Kong (PR China)/France, 52 min. Mandarin [English subtitles]
11 am and 3 pm: San zimei: Three Sisters (2012), Hong Kong (PR China)/France, 152 min. Mandarin [English subtitles]

* Except June 14, July 12, August 2, and August 30
7:40 am: 15 Hours (2017), Hong Kong (PR China), 900 min. Mandarin [English subtitles]

Thursdays
10 am and 3 pm: Fu yu zi: Father and Sons (2014), Hong Kong (PR China)/France, 97 min. Mandarin [English subtitles]
12 pm and 5 pm: Ta’ang (2016), Hong Kong (PR China)/France, 148 min. Mandarin [English subtitles]

Fridays
10 am and 5:30 pm: Wu ming zhe: Man with No Name (2010), Hong Kong (PR China), 92 min. Mandarin [English subtitles]
1 pm: Feng ai: ’Til Madness Do Us Part (2013), Hong Kong (PR China)/France/Japan, 227 min. Mandarin [English subtitles]

Saturdays
10 am and 3 pm: Ku Qian: Bitter Money (2016), PR China/France, 152 min. Mandarin [English subtitles]
1 pm and 6 pm: Fang Xiu Ying: Mrs. Fang (2017), Hong Kong (PR China)/France, 85 min. Mandarin [English subtitles]

Sundays
10 am: Feng ai: ’Til Madness Do Us Part (2013), Hong Kong (PR China)/France/Japan, 227 min. Mandarin [English subtitles]
2 pm: He Fengming (2007), Hong Kong (PR China), 184 min. Mandarin [English subtitles]
5:30 pm: San zimei: Three Sisters (2012), Hong Kong (PR China)/France, 152 min. Mandarin [English subtitles]

June 7
World premiere of Fang Xiu Ying: Mrs. Fang (2017), Hong Kong (PR China)/France, 85 min. Mandarin [English subtitles]
With introduction by Wang Bing and Emmanuel Burdeau

Posted in Notes on 06.07.2017
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