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Labored But Elusive

Labored But Elusive

BY STEVE ERICKSON | I suppose it’s inevitable that even the greatest directors will screw up from time to time. I’ve long considered Chinese documentarian Wang Bing one of his country’s greatest living directors. Unfortunately, “Ta’ang,” made last year and now receiving a week-long run at Anthology Film Archives, is the only Wang film I’ve disliked. […]

Representing Is Important; Content Matters, Too

Representing Is Important; Content Matters, Too

BY STEVE ERICKSON | “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins has said that if people don’t have images of themselves, they’ll start to feel like they don’t exist. Jenkins’ film has given an unprecedented amount of visibility to gay African-American men –– at least in cinema. (TV shows like “The Wire” and “Empire” have beaten him to the […]

Social Control Medicalized

Social Control Medicalized

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Watching Chinese director Wang Bing’s documentary “‘Til Madness Do Us Part,” you have to keep reminding yourself that it’s set in a mental hospital, not a prison. A modern-day example of direct cinema, Wang’s film plunges the spectator into the disorienting world of a hospital for patients who’ve been committed against their […]

A Disappearing World’s Splendor and Ugliness

A Disappearing World’s Splendor and Ugliness

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Why has Wang Bing, one of the most important Chinese directors of his generation, received so little attention in the US? Anthology Film Archives has played all three of his documentaries, but even they haven’t been able to show his sole narrative film, “The Ditch” — though not for lack of trying. […]