Wang Bing

Over Wang Bings Man in Black (2023)

Ellen Vermeulen, 2024
ARTICLE
19.06.2024
NL

De vorm – hoe te spreken – kan een daad van verzet zijn. Zo moet Man in Black ook begrepen worden. “One can describe many things but the moment one describes pain, language begins to falter.” Aanvankelijk lijkt het alsof Wang Xilin zijn spraak is verloren. Zijn lichaam spreekt en hij loeit, met de tranen over zijn wangen. Wanneer hij eindelijk zijn woorden terugvindt, wanneer hij kan beschrijven wat hem is overkomen dan is het niet de emotie maar de muziek die hem overstemt. Niet omdat wat hij zegt onzinnig, langdradig of herhaling is. Neen, we zien de man praten en lezen zijn woorden in ondertiteling, begeleid door luide muziek. Het moment geeft ons toegang tot de transitie, dat wat zich tussenin bevindt. Tussen het onzegbare en de woorden als placeholders van de pijn.

中国独立电影现状

Wang Bing, 2022
MANIFESTO
21.12.2022

中国电影在30 年前出现了独立电影,慢慢的独立电影变成中国年轻导演电影创作的主要途径,大量独立电影作品也改变了中国电影整体的创作生态,使中国原先单一国家体制内电影制作限制有所改变,这些好的发展也曾经给很多电影人非常大的信心,对未来中国电影报着很大希望。但是,这几年中国政治的变化和疫情的影响,使中国独立电影基本上创作和拍摄全面终止,只有很少的导演还在坚持独立电影创作。

The State of Chinese Independent Film

Wang Bing, 2022
MANIFESTO
21.12.2022
NL FR EN ZH

After independent films first appeared on the Chinese cinematic landscape three decades ago, they gradually became the method of choice among young Chinese filmmakers. The large number of Chinese independent films also transformed the broader creative ecosystem by bending the constraints of China’s once-monolithic state-controlled film system. These positive developments gave many filmmakers great optimism and confidence in the future of Chinese film. In recent years, however, domestic political changes and the effects of the pandemic have essentially put a halt to the development and production of independent films in China. There are very few directors left who continue to create independent films.

De huidige staat van de Chinese onafhankelijke film

Wang Bing, 2022
MANIFESTO
21.12.2022
NL FR EN ZH

Drie decennia geleden verscheen de onafhankelijke film voor het eerst in het Chinese filmlandschap, om daarna geleidelijk aan de creatieve methode bij uitstek te worden van jonge Chinese filmmakers. Het grote aantal onafhankelijke films transformeerde de ruimere creatieve context door de beperkingen van het zo specifieke, door de staat gecontroleerde Chinese filmsysteem naar hun hand te zetten. Door deze positieve ontwikkelingen keken veel filmmakers met optimisme en vertrouwen naar de toekomst van de Chinese film. Binnenlandse politieke veranderingen en de gevolgen van de pandemie hebben de ontwikkeling en productie van onafhankelijke films in China de voorbije jaren echter vrijwel tot stilstand gebracht, zodat vandaag nog slechts een handvol filmmakers doorgaat met het maken van onafhankelijke films.

L’état du cinéma indépendant chinois aujourd’hui

Wang Bing, 2022
MANIFESTO
21.12.2022
NL FR EN ZH

Le cinéma indépendant a fait son apparition en Chine il y a 30 ans et s’est progressivement imposé comme la voie principale des jeunes cinéastes pour réaliser des films. Beaucoup de ces œuvres cinématographiques indépendantes ont transformé l’environnement créatif général du cinéma en Chine et ont fait évoluer les contraintes de production au sein de ce système si particulier qu’est le cinéma officiel chinois. Ces développements positifs ont donné confiance à de nombreux cinéastes et ont porté de grands espoirs pour l’avenir du cinéma chinois. Pourtant, l’évolution politique de la Chine et l’impact de l’épidémie de Covid de ces dernières années ont pratiquement mis à l’arrêt la création et le tournage de films indépendants chinois, si bien que seule une poignée de réalisateurs persévèrent encore dans cette voie aujourd’hui.

A Critical Reflection on Wang Bing’s cinema

Camille Bourgeus, 2022
ARTICLE
14.12.2022
EN

Wang Bing explores how people’s ideals and dreams relate to reality, how cinema makes it possible to affectively rethink one’s subjective relationship to society. Wang belongs to a generation of Chinese filmmakers who since the 1990s, but exponentially since the turn of the century thanks to the introduction of lightweight affordable DV cameras, document society from the bottom up, independently, (mostly) outside of the state-sanctioned film industry.

A Conversation with Wang Bing

Hannah Bailliu, David Slotema, Mattijs Driesen, Quinten Wyns, 2021
CONVERSATION
01.12.2021
EN

In 2018, Wang Bing stayed in Ghent as an “Artist in Focus” in the context of the Courtisane film festival. In the margins of the festival, students and former students of the KASK School of Arts Ghent invited Wang Bing to talk about filmmaking and to cook noodle soup with dumplings together. The director kindly agreed. The conversation that followed was shaped and guided by film fragments shown in between the questions. (...) The following text is an edited transcription of a part of this conversation and deals with filmmaking from the position of the filmmaker.

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PRISMA
16.09.2020
NL

De Amerikaanse kunstenaar Gordon Matta-Clark snijdt een gat door twee aangrenzende zeventiende-eeuwse panden die voor de sloop bestemd zijn. Filmmaker Wang Bing ontleedt urenlang de binnenkant van een fabriekscomplex dat zijn laatste lange adem uitblaast.

Wang Bing about Dead Souls

Emmanuel Burdeau, 2018
CONVERSATION
29.05.2019
EN

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. ”

Over Wang Bings Fengming: a Chinese Memoir

Camille Bourgeus, 2018
ARTICLE
28.03.2018
NL

In het midden van de film gebeurt er iets geniaals, waardoor we uit Fengmings verhaal naar het heden worden gesleurd. Op een bepaald moment onderbreekt Wang haar om te vragen of het licht eventueel aan zou mogen. Het gesprek begon in de vooravond en zonder dat we het als kijker echt beseffen, is Fengming ondertussen volledig in het duister gehuld. Haar ‘heden’ is verdwenen.

 

De arme mise-en-scène van Wang Bing

Quinten Wyns, Mattijs Driesen, 2018
ARTICLE
28.03.2018
NL

Wang Bings werk echoot Johan van der Keukens gedachte dat cinema “alles kan zijn, maar niets IS, behalve een oog en een oor.” Dus in de eerste plaats wandelen, de ogen en oren openen met arme middelen, waarin Wang Bing zowel genereus aandacht geeft als streng aandacht eist. “Ik kijk en luister hier en nu: kijk en luister!”

Wang Bing about Fengming: A Chinese Memoir

Julien Gester, 2012
CONVERSATION
29.05.2019
EN

In He Fengming [Fengming: A Chinese Memoir] (2007) Wang Bing recorded in barely one take He Fengming’s startling testimony of the persecutions that she and her family endured throughout the Anti-Rightist Movement and the Cultural Revolution in China. “I wanted to assure her the most ample freedom of speaking. The core of the film has been shot during one afternoon. Fengming was 76 years old, she’s a woman who entirely lives in the past, in her memory. In fact, it seemed correct to make an immobile film, a ‘talking heads’ film and I did not want to stage anything else. It’s about understanding her for who she is: a spectral woman locked up in the past, wandering about in an apartment that has been reduced to a tomb.”

Wang Bing’s Three Sisters

Thom Andersen, 2012
ARTICLE
29.05.2019
EN

But fire also burns in the face of Yingying, the dutiful, stoic eldest daughter who yearns to read and write and study, to discover something unattainable in this tiny, remote village. There is fire even in her dirty, white-hooded jacket with the words “Lovely Diary” on the back, a jacket she never takes off throughout the film. She never demands anything, and she barely speaks, yet she is one of the most compelling, most affecting figures in all of documentary cinema.

Director’s Statement

Wang Bing, 2012
ARTICLE
05.12.2018
EN

“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.

Lucy Sante, 2009
ARTICLE
21.03.2018
EN

Wang Bing’s film is at once epic and intimate – epic because of the sheer scale of the constructions, and the long, straight railroad tracking shots Wang employs to render its geography; intimate because of its focus on the daily life of the last workers and the soon-to-be displaced. Wang’s film is not journalistic in that it does not show us, for example, the bureaucrats who made the various life-altering decisions, and it doesn’t show the rest of Shenyang – the bourgeois neighborhoods, shops, hotels, highways.

Eugenio Renzi, 2013
ARTICLE
29.05.2019
EN

Everything, you know, is nothing. The patients in every psychiatric hospital in the world do not exist. Their identity is denied. They have no name. They are simply crazy. In Wang Bing’s cinema we meet two types of characters. Those who have no name, but who describe themselves through action, and those who have a name and act through words. Dumbed by medicines, the madmen of Wang Bing are deprived of the opportunity to tell their story. This is the main issue that the film tackles and solves.

Wang Bing about Feng ai [’Til Madness Do Us Part]

Emmanuel Burdeau, Eugenio Renzi, 2013
CONVERSATION
29.05.2019
NL EN

“A mental hospital is not, as such, an original theme. The story told by ’Til Madness Do Us Part could just as well happen anywhere else. It is a common story. The fact remains that mental illness is of course an interesting subject, particularly in China. Somehow, mental illness frees mankind, as it liberates mankind from the yoke of the law. At the same time, it makes man more vulnerable... […] The life we see on the outside of an asylum is fundamentally not very different from the one we can see on the inside. What interested me was less the hospital than the patients and the life they were living... They don’t consider this place a mental hospital but the place in which they live. […]  It is their house. That’s where they live as if it is their home. Some of them even stay there for the rest of their lives. Very early on, I was struck by the impression that in a lot of ways there is more humanity on the inside of a hospital than on the outside.”

Jean-Louis Comolli, 2013
ARTICLE
29.05.2019
EN

The exercise is new to me. To reread what I have written in another time. Over the past decade, I was occasionally prompted to speak on Wang Bing’s film West of the Tracks (2002), which I don’t just consider a great movie but a cinematographic event that changes the state of things we still call ‘cinema’. In Corps et cadre (Verdier, 2002), I regretted not being able to produce a true critique of this film fleuve (of nine hours). The thing was beyond me; it still is. I then resolved to a different tactical approach. To examine what remained of the film in my memory. A film which is that long, a whole which is that intricate, cut into four segments each lasting more than one hour, two hours, three hours, obviously presents a challenge to the memory of the spectator that I am.

Interview met Wang Bing

Emmanuel Burdeau, Eugenio Renzi, 2013
CONVERSATION
09.11.2014
NL EN

“Een psychiatrisch ziekenhuis is, op zich, geen origineel thema. Het verhaal van Feng ai [’Til Madness Do Us Part] had zich zeker ook elders kunnen afspelen. Het is een alledaags verhaal. Toch is geestesziekte natuurlijk een interessant onderwerp, met name in China. Geestesziekte bevrijdt de mens, in zekere zin, want ze bevrijdt hem van het juk van de wet. Tegelijkertijd maakt ze hem kwetsbaarder … [...] Het leven dat men buiten een inrichting waarneemt is in wezen niet zo verschillend van het leven dat men binnen kan waarnemen. Wat me interesseerde was minder het ziekenhuis dan de patiënten en het leven dat ze er leidden. Zij beschouwen die plek niet als een ziekenhuis maar als een plaats waar ze leven. [...] Het is hun huis. Ze leven er alsof ze thuis zijn, sommigen blijven er zelfs tot hun dood. Ik was al vroeg getroffen door de indruk dat in veel opzichten er meer menselijkheid binnen dan buiten het ziekenhuis was.”

Interview with Wang Bing

New Left Review, 2013
CONVERSATION
22.10.2014
EN

“I don’t usually worry about whether the audience will accept the way my film is designed. You are the filmmaker; it is your job to make a convincing work. Instead of worrying about the audience, you should search for ways to make your film a good one. To me, it means to look for, or create, a potentially better cinema that fits your needs in making this particular work. At the same time, your film must be capable of accommodating the living reality of its subject. [...] The technique and style you choose for a film should be appropriate to your subject matter. What is really important is to establish a relation between the subject of your film and your audience. It is the camera that creates this connection.”

Wang Bing on ’Til Madness Do Us Part and Three Sisters

Didier Péron, 2014
CONVERSATION
29.05.2019
EN

“Yingying lives in hard circumstances. First, she was separated from her mother. Then, she was obliged to live several months without her father. And thereafter, she had to live without him and her two sisters. She has a difficult relation with the human community around her, her family and friends. But when she’s with the animals, you can feel her innocence, a certain human truth, very primal, very basic.”

Wang Bing about Ta’ang and Bitter Money

Michael Guarneri, Jin Wang, 2017
CONVERSATION
29.05.2019
EN

“There is no absolute freedom for any filmmaker. There will always be limitations on various levels, according to the particular conditions a director works in: “less money” causes the “less freedom” of “less money,” and “more money” causes the “less freedom” of “more money”. For certain filmmakers, having little money means having little freedom, for other filmmakers – like myself – having little money means having more freedom, because the low budget makes things simpler and more straightforward. So I would say that a director has first of all to find the suitable conditions to create, to do what he wants to do. A good director always manages to work around – and sometimes break through – these limitations, and achieve his aims.”

Wang Bing about Mrs. Fang

Daniel Kasman, Christopher Small, 2017
CONVERSATION
29.05.2019
EN

“Behind her eyes I saw something – a light. And that light reminded me of a child’s eyes. I thought, “She’s there and we know that she’s there looking out from behind her eyes.” Eyes talk to us in these ways. When it dawned on me that a second chance to record her was unlikely, I realized that for the most part this would be the way to have her appear in the film. I thought it would probably be the only way to make people feel that she’s there, she’s alive, she’s still alive.”

Een gesprek met Jacques Rancière

Stoffel Debuysere, 2017
CONVERSATION
09.01.2019
NL EN

Fictie is overal. De vraag is: waar situeren we het beginpunt van fictie? Welke schikking zorgt ervoor dat er iets gebeurt? In zekere zin kunnen we zeggen dat er sprake is van fictie zodra een soort narratief ons vertelt of laat zien dat er iets gebeurt. Daarom ben ik in mijn recente werk vooral geïnteresseerd in het verkennen van de grenzen van fictie, de grens tussen ‘er gebeurt niets’ en ‘er gebeurt iets’. 

Emmanuel Burdeau, 2017
ARTICLE
18.04.2018
FR EN

Vertical cinema, films that walk. Horizontal cinema, films that are recumbent. Between them is a time outside time, the same duration alien to the laws of work, of reason and of health. How, and until when, can a life be extended once it seems to have left itself behind? What virtual actions remain latent within what appears to be the most complete inaction? From indefatigable walking to the fatigue of the recumbent, the spectacular reversal of postures is also accompanied by a shared perseverance: Wang Bing’s gesture consists in disengaging from the core of exhaustion the ultimate fragments of the possible.

Emmanuel Burdeau, 2017
ARTICLE
18.04.2018
FR EN

Cinéma vertical, films qui marchent. Cinéma horizontal, films qui gisent. Des uns aux autres s’ouvrent le même temps, la même durée étrangère aux lois du travail, de la raison et de la santé. Comment, et jusqu’à quand, une vie peut-elle se prolonger, à partir du moment où elle semble comme sortie d’elle-même ? De quelles virtualités d’action l’inaction a priori la plus complète est encore grosse ? De l’infatigable marche à la fatigue des gisants, s’il y a un spectaculaire bouleversement des postures, se développe aussi une commune persévérance : le geste de Wang Bing dégage d’ultimes fragments de possible du cœur de l’épuisement.

A Conversation with Jacques Rancière

Stoffel Debuysere, 2017
CONVERSATION
20.09.2017
NL EN

“Fiction is everywhere. The question is: where do we situate the starting point of fiction? What kind of arrangement makes something happen? In a way, we can say there is fiction whenever there is some kind of narrative that tells, or shows, us that something is happening. That’s why, in my recent work, I have mostly been interested in exploring the edges of fiction, the edge between nothing happens and something happens.”