TA’ANG (HK/F 2016, Wang Bing)

As you might have figured already, we have a strong focus on the documentary format and its cinematic potentials at this year’s GEGENkino. Hence, on April 10 at UT Connewitz we take the opportunity to show the film “Ta’ang”—a new documentary by the often-heard-of, but probably only seldomly received Chinese director Wang Bing. With “only” 2 hours and 20 minutes this film is one of the shorter works by Wang Bing—a filmmaker famous for films like like the documentary “Crude Oil”, clocking in at 14 hours of length. “Ta’ang” is a very engaged study of one specific ethnic minority—the Ta’ang—and of displacement and existential  migration in general—a topic which we’re dealing with in several section of our 2017 programme.


HK/F 2016, Doc, D: Wang Bing, OV/English subtitles, 142’, DCP

Whether as a nine hour long-term study about the impoverishment of hundreds of thousands of workers and the politically intended decay of complete industrial regions or the portrait of three sisters now on their own, having been left behind by their parents because of financial constraints – the films of Wang Bing show disintegrating environments aloof from a rampant economic growth. The new work of the Chinese documentary filmmaker is familiarly radical in the reduced use of its means. At it, the film develops a strong aesthetic and emotional pull that exceeds an impersonal representational function. With TA’ANG, Wang faces the ethnic minority of Myanmar with the same name (also known as Paluang), having been victims of Burmese civil war for decades. In 2015, violence flared up once again and caused an exodus of the Ta’ang to China. Today, up to 100,000 refugees, chiefly women, old poeple and children, are living quasi-nomadically in unsteady camps in the province of Yunnuan, hoping to return soon. The film opens up as seemingly aimless, looking for orientation in unknown surroundings, but develops a precise sequence of movements, ranging from the microscopic view on afflicted people – searching for a resting place, making a fire and cooking, having conversations, estimating the distance to war by the volume of the explosions – right up to humanitarian contexts of war.

10 April, 8pm – UT Connewitz – € 6,5 (5,5 red.)