PODCAST | Bénédicte Prot interviews Wang Bing, director of the film Mrs. Fang, winner of the Golden Leopard of Locarno70.
To listen to the interview, click on the ► icon on the right, just above the picture
Olivier Assayas’ international jury’s verdict is in, and the Golden Leopard goes to Mrs. Fang, a masterpiece of a documentary by Wang Bing which, behind its deceptively simple title and its respectful, seemingly observational approach, hides an all-encompassing, perfectly wrought piece of cinematic grammar that might as well be called As I Lay Dying.
FRED (who interviewed more extensively the director in the presence of an Italian interpreter) gathered the still humble but radiant filmmaker’s first reaction on this well-deserved victory.
Mrs. Fang: as reality continues to constantly change guise and light, all one can do is document this eternal changing atmospheric fiction, aware that any record one wants to make will never be just a record, nor just a document, but the record of a vision. All the more so if the record concerns the transition from life to death and the vision is the magic circle with which Wang Bing encloses a family waiting to say goodbye to their elderly Alzheimer’s-stricken mother, Mrs. Fang. Increasingly, in Wang Bing’s works (the latest seem to form a single discourse, from Ta’ang to Ku Qian) there is a magic circle where attachment to life and disorientation for the fractures that compose it signify both a poetic sign of ancient archaism and centuries-old myths before they are lost. The director travels through his China, without destination, the only idea being to survive. Wang Bing is so inside the events that he can interiorize the sense of disorientation, as when he follows the family members during their night-time fishing in the surrounding swamps. Documentary? Yes, if by documentary one means that natural space of time necessary for the narration of reality to reach an even more natural transparency of vision. No need for staging because the immense and overriding narrativity (we could say really fiction) of the real is clear to the director. The journey to the other side of Mrs. Fang is one of desperate beauty, etched in a perfect and perfectly suspended filmic duration, which gives the sense of the leap into the dark mixed with hope, of the fear and desire of those who remain.
For the official page of the winning film on the festival website, click here.