Release year: 2005
Run time: 78 mins
Film type: Documentary
The video shots for this film, Wang Wo sampled from 2001 to 2005. He than had moved from Sichuan Province to Beijing and bought a back then still rare video camera. Lots of his observations of outside life he did from the window of his flat in the outskirts of Beijing, but also where he passed by chance or when people gathered on places for unplanned events. You can take the beginning as programmatic: at the Tiananmen square he proposed people who would like to be photographed with Mao’s portrait on the gate of the Forbidden Palace to do the shot, and chose his perspective so that chairman Mao got obliterated as a vanishing halo behind their own presence. Lots of his shots show people outside from a far away view and from above, like in paintings of our western artist Pieter Bruegel with its reluctance of hierarchy. Their independency, their chaotic, charming, crazy, absurd or comic, anyway anarchic struggle for life comes in the distant focus of his hand camera with subtle humour and respect. And with wise melancholy, Mao’s dictum of the revolutionaries’ motion like fishes in water is questioned: are not the people themselves the fishes in life stream’s unpredictable waters?
Wang Wo (王我) was born in Hebei Province, and is currently living in USA. He studied graphic design at the Central Academy of Arts and Design, and received an MA in Arts and Design from Tsinghua University. He began making films in 2004, establishing himself as one the innovative of the independent documentary filmmakers. His experimental documentaries include Outside (2005), Noise (2007), Zhe Teng: According to China (2010), The Dialogue (2014) and A Filmless Festival (2015). Along with his filmmaking, Wang established himself as an artist and graphic designer. His powerful posters for the Beijing Independent Film Festival are admired the world around.