About the Film
Mrs. Fang, a seventy something former farmer from rural southeast China, has been suffering from Alzheimer for several years. Wang went in that area because he was interested in 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.
Born in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, China, in 1967, Wang Bing
studied photography at the Lu Xun Academy of Fine Art, and cinematography at the Beijing Film Academy. His 2002 film Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks garnered remarkable international success. Other significant works of his include feature documentaries Three Sisters (2012) and ‘Til Madness Do Us Part (2013), video installation Crude Oil (2008), and narrative features Brutality Factory (2007) and
The Ditch (2010). His work has won many awards, and was honoured by retrospectives in major institutions, including the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique.