Man in Black

From The dGenerate Films Collection

Directed by Wang Bing

60 minutes / Color
Mandarin / English subtitles
Release: 2023
Copyright: 2023

WANG Xilin, 86, is one of China’s most important modern classical composers. The film exhibits the body and soul of a man scarred by a life of suffering, a "man in black" who is yet still capable of deep and sincere compassion. With excerpts from his symphonies, he revisits some of the horrifying events that still live on in his memory, as testimony to an era that saw the dehumanization of the Chinese nation.

“86-year-old Chinese composer Wang Xilin uses his naked body and his life story as eloquent vessels of protest art in this extraordinary, achingly beautiful hour-long film.” —Variety

“Man in Black constitutes one of the most unique “biographical” documentaries. A portrait of an artist who brought beauty and creativity into the world at immense personal sacrifice.” —Deadline

“It’s a sobering, striking work – as much performance piece as documentary per se, and a notable departure from Wang Bing’s usual objective observational mode. It’s also a devastating testimony to the horrors of the last century in China, but also to the powers of endurance of an artist whose creativity has been as closely interwoven with the troubles of his age as, say, Shostakovich’s was with the Stalin era.” —Screen Daily

“Risk-taking... A tribute to classical composer Wang Xilin that both figuratively and literally strips him bare.” —Hyperallergic

Select Accolades

  • Cannes Film Festival 2023
  • New York Film Festival 2023


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