Wang Bing

Wang Bing has been a leading documentary filmmaker of the burgeoning independent documentary scene in China for the past decade. Acclaimed by critics and recognized as one of the most important Chinese artists and filmmakers of his time, his work has garnered awards and international praise at major film festivals.

Born in Shaanxi, a province in central China in 1967, Wang first studied photography at the Lu Xun Academy of Fine Art before studying cinematography at Beijing Film Academy. He began his career as an independent filmmaker in 1999. Released in 2003, his directorial debut West of the Tracks is a monumental documentary work, exceeding 9 hours in length, and a great success internationally. Filmed in the northern Chinese district of Tiexi, West of the Tracks is a strikingly profound contemplation on the lives of workers in the decaying industrial district. Three Sisters received more than 45,000 viewers in France.

Retrospectives of his oeuvre have been presented at institutions including the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique.

In addition to documentaries, Wang has also created fiction films (Brutality Factory, The Ditch), installations (including CRUDE OIL, BEAUTY LIVES IN FREEDOM), and photographic series.

The dGenerate Films Collection at Icarus Films is proud to distribute seven films by Wang Bing. Discover more of our featured filmmakers.

"Mr. Wang sits at the pinnacle of the Chinese documentary groundswell." —Nicolas Rapold, The New York Times

"The most intrepid chronicler of post-Mao China." —James Quandt, The New York Review of Books

"In chronicling individual, present-day lives, Wang gives a sense of his country's recent history. Political critiques are instead largely left implicit and made through Wang's act of allying himself with people that have been pushed onto his culture's fringes. The films suggest that China's transition from Maoism to an assimilation of capitalism has not only failed to improve, but actually worsened the lives of many of its citizens, who survive despite it. The people that Wang records move him, as evidenced by his willingness to let them guide the films." —Aaron Cutler, Cineaste

"In the films of Chinese documentarian Wang Bing, time expands to such leviathan extremes they make you feel as though you've been forced into a staring contest with reality. Even at their most static, his images vibrate with a corrosive, pent-up energy, intensified by the sense that much of the marginal, rural, and post-industrial life they capture is in the process of vanishing." —Andrew Chan, Film Comment


Documents China's rapid economic and social transformation by following the rural workers who leave their Yunnan hometown to move to the city of Huzhou to work in its textile factories.

Wang Bing | 2017 | 152 minutes | Color | Mandarin | English subtitles

Dead Souls documents the testimony of survivors of the hard-labor camp in the Gobi Desert in Gansu, China.

Wang Bing | 2018 | 506 minutes | Color | Mandarin | English subtitles

WANG Xilin, 86, is one of China’s most important modern classical composers. In this film by Wang Bing, he revisits some of the horrifying events that still live on in his memory.

Wang Bing | 2023 | 60 minutes | Color | Mandarin | English subtitles

The daily life of Ta'ang refugees, a Burmese ethnic minority who are caught between a civil war and the Chinese border.

Wang Bing | 2017 | 147 minutes | Color | Burmese; Mandarin; English | English subtitles

Three little sisters live alone in a small village in the high mountains of the Yunnan region. The little girls don't go to school, spending their days working in the fields or wandering in the village.

Wang Bing | 2016 | 153 minutes | Color | English; Mandarin | English subtitles

The daily lives and isolation of a group of men locked on one floor of a Chinese city's psychiatric institution.

Wang Bing | 2016 | 238 minutes | Color | English; Mandarin | English subtitles

Wang Bing's epic profile of Chinese garment workers.

Wang Bing | 2023 | 215 minutes | Color | Mandarin | English subtitles