Fengming: A Chinese Memoir
(He Fengming)

Directed by Wang Bing.
China, 2007, digital video, color, 186 min.
Mandarin with English subtitles.

While researching his planned narrative epic about the formative years of Maoist China, Wang encountered He Fengming, a former journalist who began to recount the gripping and almost unbelievably heartrending story of her troubled experiences as a once-ardent member of the socialist movement. Inspired by Fengming’s startling perspective on the dark turns taken by the Cultural Revolution, Wang fashioned an unusually intimate and revealing encounter with the elderly woman using by dramatically linking a series of extended single shots fixed upon Fengming seated within her modest home and speaking directly to the camera and viewer. As the night gradually falls Fengming’s words gather in force to reveal the power of oral history and the strength of this extraordinary woman, which is intensified further by Wang’s deliberate avoidance of stylistic embellishment.

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