Dead Souls

Wang Bing about Dead Souls

Emmanuel Burdeau, 2018

Before the premiere at the 2018 Cannes filmfestival, Emmanuel Burdeau talked to Wang Bing about his colossal documentary work Dead Souls. “As it is often the case, though, the problem was the solution: I finally understood that it was this gap that would be the subject of Dead Souls. I finally realized that what interested me through the memory of the survivors was to be able to touch upon the reality of those who had died. But all this remains very theoretical... From a practical standpoint I still didn’t know how the reality of those who were dead was going to come forth from the testimonies of those who were, on the contrary, still alive and who, when they were interviewed, spoke mostly of just that: the fact that they had survived. ”

Director’s Statement

Wang Bing, 2012

“When making a documentary film about events that happened nearly sixty years ago, an oral history format is an easy choice, but I have deliberately chosen not to take this approach. Instead I hope to show, through the lives of the Jiabiangou survivors, how the present speaks to the past.” Wang Bing wrote this text in 2012 as a treatment for the movie Past in the Present (2018). Later, the name was changed into Dead Souls.