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Dream Walking

Wen Hai

Release year: 2005

Run time: 86 min

Film type: Documentary


How do artists live in China today? Painters and poets have gone back to the dream-walking wanderings and the intense discussions of art, love and philosophy that characterized the artists of the classical age. In the stifling summer city, the artist Li Wake helps the painter Wang Yongping make a film. The frontiers between what is true and false, between creation and existence, are abolished. Li finds a fellow wanderer, the young “Beibei Demon Face”, who is a night watchman and poet. They meet up and work in the studio of Ding Defu, an expressionist painter. Inspired by the biography of Van Gogh, they all love walking around naked and turning their and bodies into poetic objects, motivated by a desire both to provoke and to abandon their social roles. “The disorder of our world resembles that of our hearts.”

Following on from Floating Dust, this is the second part of a trilogy about survival in an absurd world.


Director biography

Wen Hai studied at the Beijing Film Academy and has since 2001 been active as an independent film director. Among his best known films are Floating Dust (2004), which won the Prix Georges Beauregard at the 16th Festival International du Documentaire in Marseille in 2005; Dream Walking (2006), awarded the Grand Prize at the 2006 Cinéma du Réel; and the film We, which won the Horizons Special Mention award at the 2008 Venice International Film Festival. Wen Hai also worked as a camera man on WangBing's film Three Sisters (2012). His 2016 book The Gaze of Exile: Witnessing Chinese Independent Documentary Films (放逐的凝视——见证中国独立纪录片)is published in Taipei by Tendency.


  • 2006 Cinéma du Réel Award 28th Cinéma du Réel