Wang Bing’s epic fourteen-hour film follows the long working day of crude oil extractors in China’s remote Qinghai province. This used to be the country’s poorest region, with its growth accelerating today through oil and coal mining. The film was shot at high altitude in the Gobi Desert, the harsh climate making the laborers’ work more physically exhausting. Wang follows the workers from morning to evening as they extract oil and briefly rest together in their canteens and dormitories. Crude Oil presents a real time, uncut portrait of workers’ daily lives, amidst the uncompromising lunar landscape of the oil fields. Seven hours of the film were screened daily during opening hours.
Wang Bing was born in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, China in 1967, and studied photography at the Lu Xun Academy of Fine Art in 1992, and cinematography at Beijing Film Academy in 1995. He began his independent filmmaking career in 1999. His work has been premiered at leading international film festivals including Rotterdam, Cannes, Toronto and Venice.
Wang Bing is a leading figure of the exciting documentary movement within Chinese cinema over the last decade. He is renowned for his epic documentaries, from the vast nine-hour panorama of a dying industrial factory town in West of the Tracks to Crude Oil’s real-time portrait of the working day of oil extraction workers. His films offer profound meditations on history, industry and human suffering caused by the inexorable progress of modern China, forging a rare intimacy with everyday life.
Curated by AV Festival. UK Premiere.
Launch: Fri 28 February 2014, 6–9pm
Sat 1 – Mon 31 March 2014
20 South Street
Newcastle NE1 3PE
Tue – Sun 10am–5pm, closed Mon. Closed Fri 7 March – Sun 9 March
Original Language Title: Yuan You
Format: Digital Video
Production Company: Kong Lihong, Wang Bing, Wil Productions
Editor/DoP: Wang Bing
Sales: Wil Productions, Kong Lihong