Directed by Wang Bing • Documentary • 2018 • 164 minutes
In Gansu Province, northwest China, lie the remains of countless prisoners abandoned in the Gobi Desert sixty years ago. Designated as “ultra-rightists” in the Communist Party’s Anti-Rightist campaign of 1957, they starved to death in the Jiabiangou and Mingshui reeducation camps. The film invites us to meet the survivors of the camps to find out firsthand who these persons were, the hardships they were forced to endure and what became their destiny.
“A film of resistance that, in discussing the past, also confronts the present-day activities of the Chinese government; [foretelling future memorials] for the victims of today’s camps and bearing witness to the cruel injustices of the country’s reigning overlords.” —The New Yorker
“Weighty and mindfully austere, Dead Souls shines a bright and steady spotlight into a dark corner of 20th century Chinese history.” —Film Comment