Bing Ai (2007)

Bing Ai, her husband and two children harvest oranges on the banks of
the Yangtze River. Their misfortune is to be located in the flood basin
of the Three Gorges Dam Project. The government orders her to relocate,
and offers miserable compensation. Bing Ai refuses to move on such
terms, and thus begins a decade long struggle with local officials and
the land.

Feng Yan spent ten years filming Bing Ai, and out of
this material has crafted one of the most moving and fascinating
documentaries to come out of China in years. Bing Ai’s charisma and
resilience shine through as we see her in various confrontations with
stolid local bureaucrats, just “doing their jobs.” The human cost of
China’s unprecedented re-engineering of its environment is the main
subject here. But the most remarkable revelations come from Bing Ai’s
intimate life: the film is at its heart an ode to love that slowly
grows between husband and wife.

Utterly without condescension, the film gives not only a feel for the
rhythms of their daily routines, but also opens up the detailed texture
of their emotional lives: it’s a remarkable portrait of a world that
for most of us exists only in the abstract.

China, 2007, 114 min, BetaSP (NTSC)
World Premiere

Directed By: Feng Yan
PROD: Feng Yan
CAM: Feng Yan, Feng Wenze
EDS: Feng Yan, Mathieu Haessler
China’s epically intimate (or is it
intimately epic?) documentary movement finds a major new exponent in
Feng Yan, whose new documentary Bing Ai chronicles the labour, loves and indomitable willpower of Zhang Bing Ai, a Chinese peasant woman who dares to defy the state.

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