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49 Ratings

Dead Souls

Si ling hun

Directed by Wang Bing
France, Switzerland, 2018


In Gansu Province, northwest China, lie the remains of countless prisoners abandoned in the Gobi Desert sixty years ago. Designated as ultra-rightists in the Communist Party’s Anti-Rightist campaign of 1957, they starved to death in the reeducation camps. The film invites us to meet these survivors.

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Dead Souls Directed by Wang Bing
“Dead Souls” is a film of resistance that, in discussing the past, also confronts the present-day activities of the Chinese government. It’s as if “Shoah” had filmed Holocaust survivors exclusively in Germany—and as if the one-party Nazi regime that had sent them to concentration camps were still in power.
December 19, 2018
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Some will find this approach artless, but it has a certain hypnotic quality. These subjects speak for 30 or 40 minutes at a time, and our eyes may catch little details and patterns: the way an individual grabs his knee, or scratches his face.
December 13, 2018
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A monumental achievement. In over eight hours, shot over the course of more than ten years, Dead Souls, too, is an intimate portrait, or rather a collection of intimate portraits that go under the skin, albeit in a different way than Mrs Fang. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to compare the film to Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah. On the contrary, one could go as far as arguing that Dead Souls was the Shoah of the 21st century.
December 06, 2018
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