Wang Bing on Real and Fiction

A new video added to the "Where is cinema heading to?" series from the Centre Pompidou event (see the other videos already posted here) :

Wang Bing, who filmed the 9h long documentary, Tiexi Qu : West of Tracks (2003).

Real and Fiction

"When I make a film, of course, I tell a story. In fact, while telling this story, I am one of its participants. Storytellers, the artists, used to have a certain influence on the audience. But personally I don't want to endorse this role. This vocabulary implies the notion of impartiality and truth. I have a hard time to situate my work. No matter how a film tells a story, it's very difficult to close in on the truth. During one's life, there are times when things are hard to grasp. We can't handle them. Every filmmaker has trouble being impartial during the creative process, or even... being true to oneself. I think it's very difficult. It's something hard to achieve in your life. I am also embarrassed. In the end what was my role when I filmed this documentary ? Sometimes you can trust your capacity to grasp the truth, but sometimes you feel lost, and think you're never going to reach it. On this matter, I'm fully aware that my films are intermediary between my life and the life of my interlocutor. This is the result of this interaction. This can't be considered the truth.
What is the share of truth in the fact of making a film ? If the endeavour is sometimes dubious, sometimes there is a true meaning to it, the film carries a level of truth.
If we say there is a meaning in a documentary film, I think it's not through the story told by the documentary, but rather through a moment, a precise moment. This is what will transmit something new. For instance, if we consider a place, a moment in someone's life, even 10 minutes, it doesn't matter, as soon as this moment exists, when we become aware of it, it is determined. These moments are the small history. This is what is the most beautiful in a documentary."