Features

Si linghun (Teil 1)

Dead Souls
Wang Bing
FRA, CH 2018
248min
V'18

Ende der 1950er Jahre durchzog eine erste gnadenlose Kampagne gegen vermeintliche „Rechtsabweichler“ Maos China. Wang Bing befragte dazu ab 2005 u.a. Überlebende des Lagers Mingshui in der Wüste Gobi. Mit erschütternder Genauigkeit berichten die greisen Männer von der tödlichen Absurdität totalitärer Ideologie, von Überlebensschuld und von der Entmenschlichung in diesem „Umerziehungslager“, das schlicht der Vernichtung durch Arbeit und Hunger diente. Wangs Mammutwerk bezeugt erst- und wohl auch letztmalig ihre Geschichte; 2012 registriert eine Erkundung mit der Kamera noch einmal den Ort – eisiger Wind zerrt am Mikrofon, menschliche Knochen überall. Heute sind die Reste des Lagers Mingshui eingeebnet. (Barbara Kronsfoth)

 

For over two decades Wang Bing has chronicled China’s tumultuous history, traumatic memory and neglected populations. In his latest epic documentary, DEAD SOULS, filmed between 2005 and 2017, he speaks to a few nonagenarians – selected from originally over one hundred interviewees – who were sent during the Cultural Revolution for “re-education” in the Jiabiangou labor camp, where many workers died from hunger. Adhering to a straightforward interview format, familiar from his previous films, Wang Bing’s intensely focused film captures the historical moment and its aftermath in its full psychological complexity: Some survivors, humiliated and heartbroken, tell grim tales tinged by fatalism; others prove resilient, defiant against their accusers who were often driven by self-interest. The polyphonic record at times falls to a whisper, due to the interviewees’ fragility, but the portrait of inequities and horrors is nothing if not searing. Footage also shows the current sight of the camp, turned into farms. The haunted land doesn’t yield much beyond stark bones – among them, a human skull, captured like a still life, without commentary. The interviewees’ recent deaths are noted on title cards, their voices urgently summoned so that history isn’t expunged. (Ela Bittencourt)

Credits
  • Wang Bing
  • Wang Bing
  • Adrien Kessler
  • Raphael Girardot
  • Wang Bing
  • Xiaohui Shan
  • Yang Song
  • Catherine Rascon
Les Films d’Ici, CS Productions, Adok Films

Doc & Film International

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