Coal Money
(Tong Dao)

Directed by Wang Bing.
China, 2008, digital video, color, 53 min.
Mandarin with English subtitles.

Wang’s short documentary follows the trail of improvised commerce and hard cash described by a convoy of trucks carrying coal from the mines into the countryside. The hard, even bitter, bargaining and accusations of thievery that erupt at each juncture suggest the free market system to be based on an ever-sliding scale of distrust and insecurity.

PRECEDED BY

  • Brutality Factory

    Directed by Wang Bing.
    With Xu Ning, Wu Gang, Wang Hongwei.
    Portugal, 2007, digital video, color, 16 min.

Wang’s first narrative film reenacts one of the notorious “struggle sessions,” extended show trials to test the loyalty and patriotism of individual party members that were among the more disturbing practices during the early years of the Maoist regime. A segment from the omnibus film The State of the World, Wang’s short returns to the lost world of the factories seen in ruins in West of the Tracks while also channeling the story of a victim of socialist zealotry recounted in Fengming.

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