Wang Bing’s three-part, nine-hour portrait of industrial decline is considered the most monumental achievement in the Chinese new documentary movement. Once the heart of state-run heavy industry, Tiexi district, in the northeastern city of Shenyang, is a scene of decay, as economic reforms, bankruptcies, relocation, and demolition have left factories empty and entire communities jobless. Filmed over two years, the film peels away everyday surfaces to reveal rich layers of history and culture.
The first two parts of West of the Tracks are screened during the Festival opening weekend. Part 1: Rust focuses on workers’ everyday life in the factories and their fears of unemployment amidst the slow and gradual death of the industry. The film could be watched in its entirety or as each individual part.
West of the Tracks was screened as part of our Festival focus on Wang Bing, for information about other screenings, see Wang Bing: Industrial Films.
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.
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.
Sat 1 March 2014, 1–5.15pm
10 Pilgrim Street
Newcastle NE1 6QG
Original Language Title: Tie Xi Qu
Runtime (total): 224min
Language: Chinese with English subtitles
Production Company: Zhu Zhu, Wang Bing Film Workshop
DoP: Wang Bing
Editor: Adam Kerby
Sales: Kong Lihong
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