WANG Bing

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Wang Bing was born in 1967 in Xi’an. He studied photography before earning his degree from the Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in 1992. He continued his studies at the Beijing Film Academy, where he discovered the films of Antonioni, Bergman, and Pasolini. He particularly admired Andrei Tarkovsky. During the 1990s, he made a living as a camera operator, assistant director, and cameraman. However, he found the cinema and television system unsuitable for his creative aspirations and realized he couldn’t thrive within it. He decided to break free and produce his own films.

In the industrial city of Shenyang, he created his first 9-hour feature film titled “West of the Rails” in 2002. A shorter five-hour version was showcased at the Berlin Film Festival in 2003. The definitive three-part version was screened at the Rotterdam Film Festival and distributed in France in 2004. This film is now considered both a masterpiece and a symbol of the possibilities brought about by the digital age. Wang Bing continued to work in a similar manner, clandestinely tackling challenging subjects such as the “anti-rightist” repression (“Fengming, A Chinese Memoir” and “The Ditch”), extreme poverty (“The Man Without a Name” and “Three Sisters”), and life inside a psychiatric hospital (“Til Madness Do Us Part”).

In April and May 2013, the Centre Pompidou dedicated a major exhibition to him, met with unanimous praise from critics and the public alike. This collaboration between the Centre and the artist showcased the multifaceted nature of Wang Bing’s work for the first time: a comprehensive retrospective in cinema theaters, the presentation of previously unseen films as installations, and, for the first time, an exhibition of his photographic work. In 2017, he won the Golden Leopard at Locarno for “Mrs. Fang,” and “Dead Souls” was presented out of competition at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

In 2021, the BAL (Balzac – Art and Literature) dedicated a new exhibition to him, titled “The Walking Eye.” In June, the Cinémathèque française hosted a retrospective titled “Wang Bing, the Tenacious and the People.”

In 2023, the Cannes Film Festival presented two new films by the filmmaker: “Man in Black” in a special screening and “Youth (Spring)” in the official competition.

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