A dying woman’s otherly gaze becomes a focal point to the banality unfolding around her in this contemplative observation of death.
Mrs Fang returns home to her village in Southern China to spend her last days bedridden. She remains immobile, gradually stiffening and showing less signs of lucidity as she suffers the last throes of later stage of Alzheimer’s. Meanwhile, family and neighbours gather around to bear witness. While not in her room, they find other ways to occupy their time waiting.
With Mrs Fang, Chinese auteur Wang Bing pushes the realism of his stoic observational approach in documentary filmmaking to its limits, forcing us to look at an intrinsic part and process of humanity. Without access to her life and personality, we are confronted with a body devoid of content. Leaving only death, the chatter of her relatives, and what that fills – the mundane act of waiting – as possible subjects for contemplation.
Cast & Credits
Wang Bing is a prolific filmmaker from China working with both fiction and the documentary form. His films include his nine hour long first feature West of the Tracks (2003), The Ditch (2010) and Ta’ang (2016).
Pierre-Olivier Bardet, Yang Wang, Kong Lihong
• Golden Leopard, Locarno International Film Festival 2017
• Official Selection, Toronto International Film Festival 2017
• Official Selection, Busan International Film Festival 2017