Directed by Wang Bing • Documentary • 2012 • 153 minutes
One of his generation's most important documentary filmmakers, director Wang Bing is at the height of his powers in THREE SISTERS. The film introduces viewers to 10-year-old YingYing, 6-year-old Zhenzhen and 4-year-old Fenfen, who live alone in Xiyangtang, a tiny rural village in the high mountains of China's Yunnan province. Their father is away working in the city; their mother left the family long ago.
The girls help their grandfather or aunt in exchange for meals. They spend their days at grueling tasks: herding sheep, goats and pigs, searching for firewood, collecting dung. Games are few and far between. The eldest, Yingying, is her sisters' primary caretaker, shouldering responsibilities far beyond her years.
"Critic's Pick! Documents extreme poverty in rural China with the compassionate eye and inexhaustible patience of a director whose curiosity about his country's unfortunates never seems to wane."—The New York Times
"An unquestionably eye-opening, deeply human, strikingly lensed look at an impoverished family whose rudimentary living conditions are a sharp riposte to the illusion of China's economic boom."—Jay Weissberg, Variety