V’18: OCTOBER 25 – NOVEMBER 8, 2018

Ta'ang

V' 16

Ta'ang

Wang Bing
F/Hongkong, 2016
Documentaries, 147min, OmeU

© Viennale © Viennale © Viennale

Ta'ang

Wang Bing
F/Hongkong, 2016
Documentaries, 147min, OmeU

Sound: 
Emmanuel Soland
Camera: 
Shan Xiaohui
Wang Bing
Editor: 
Adam Kerby
Wang Bing
Production: 
Chinese Shadows
WIL Productions
World Sales: 
Asian Shadows
Format: 
DCP
Color

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)

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