Wang Bing
FRA, Hongkong 2016
147 min

TA’ANG begins with a scene which is familiar to many documentaries about refugees: a uniformed man, presumably a Chinese refugee camp guard, abuses and kicks a traditionally-attired and seemingly uncommunicative tribeswoman from the titular ethnic minority. But onscreen state violence and cultural exotica ends here. After this brief scene, officials and soldiers have become nearly absent. Forced by the Chinese authorities to return home to Kokang in Myanmar, the Ta’ang individuals seen onscreen are thoroughly assimilated to their host cultures, complete with T-shirts, cellphones and other trappings. But they are outsiders, nevertheless, and Wang chronicles their slow trek home. Wang never merely makes message films. As shown in previous documentaries such as FENGMING: A CHINESE MEMOIR (with sunlight gradually faltering over an interview with a once persecuted intellectual) and FATHER AND SONS (shot entirely in a room, with a play of shadows reminiscent to Murnau or Tourneur), there’s a lot of aesthetic attention beyond the social commentary. (Clarence Tsui)

  • Wang Bing
  • Shan Xiaohui
  • Emmanuel Soland
  • Wang Bing
  • Adam Kerby
Chinese Shadows, WIL Productions

Asian Shadows

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