France, China, Germany
As reality continues to constantly change guise and light, all one can do is document this eternal changing atmospheric fiction, aware that any record one wants to make will never be just a record, nor just a document, but the record of a vision. All the more so if the record concerns the transition from life to death and the vision is the magic circle with which Wang Bing encloses a family waiting to say goodbye to their elderly Alzheimer’s-stricken mother, Mrs. Fang. Increasingly, in Wang Bing’s works (the latest seem to form a single discourse, from Ta’ang to Ku Qian) there is a magic circle where attachment to life and disorientation for the fractures that compose it signify both a poetic sign of ancient archaism and centuries-old myths before they are lost. The director travels through his China, without destination, the only idea being to survive. Wang Bing is so inside the events that he can interiorize the sense of disorientation, as when he follows the family members during their night-time fishing in the surrounding swamps. Documentary? Yes, if by documentary one means that natural space of time necessary for the narration of reality to reach an even more natural transparency of vision. No need for staging because the immense and overriding narrativity (we could say really fiction) of the real is clear to the director. The journey to the other side of Mrs. Fang is one of desperate beauty, etched in a perfect and perfectly suspended filmic duration, which gives the sense of the leap into the dark mixed with hope, of the fear and desire of those who remain.
By Lorenzo Esposito