Directed by Wang Bing
Jan 12 - Jan 13, 2019
In Gansu Province, northwest China, lie the remains of countless prisoners abandoned in the Gobi Desert sixty years ago. Deemed “ultra-rightists” in the Communist Party’s Anti-Rightist campaign of 1957, they starved to death in the Jiabiangou and Mingshui reeducation camps.
Filmed from 2005 to 2017 and expanding on Wang’s Fengming (2007) and The Ditch (2010), the eight-hour epic Dead Souls invites us to meet the survivors of the camps to find out firsthand who these persons were, the hardships they were forced to endure, and what became their destiny.
“Interwoven are rugged, haunting shots of the desert today, both a silent witness and the unmarked mass grave of those who cannot be interviewed. With an eye for the everyday and an affection for the long-winded, Wang Bing (Ta-ang, SDAFF ’16) shows that when haunted by the unspeakable, survival is but a mundane miracle. At over eight hours, DEAD SOULS translates that banality into duration and digression, conforming to no documentary format except that which honors the time of those who lend us their memories.” – Brian Hu, San Diego Asian Film Festival