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'til madness do us part

Wang Bing | 2013 | O.V. Yunnan dialect (China) | S.T. English | Hong Kong, France, Japan | 227min | color

Synopsis :

The Mute has been here for six years, Li Yukun and Zha Jiaping for 10 years, and Song Shengyong for two decades. They’re among the hundred men aged 20 to 50 held in a mental hospital in southwest China and left virtually to fend for themselves. With its battered walls and long, dark corridors, the place looks like a filthy prison. Some patients were locked up because they killed someone. Others were sent here because they were outcasts or simply upset some local official. All suffer from crushing loneliness and try any way they can to improve their terrible living conditions. In this four-hour opus, the master of Chinese documentary films, Wang Bing (West of the Tracks), adopts a direct cinema style as he examines the patients’ day-to-day lives with astonishing power and precision. This compassionate film screened out of competition at the last Venice Festival. Startling, touching and disturbing, ’Til Madness Do Us Part has a moral core and refuses to turn human suffering into a spectacle. Instead, this brave work shines a light on the truths of our world and asks us not to look away.