Jeunesse, de Wang Bing

2 min

Youth (Spring) by Wang Bing, a film supported by the Aide aux cinémas du monde

In Youth (Spring), director Wang Bing continues his observation of his country and exploration of Chinese capitalism with dynamism and precision, developed with support from Aide aux cinémas du monde. Selected at the 2023 Cannes Festival, he unleashes his talent as a documentary filmmaker in the service of Chinese youth crushed by a pernicious system. 

© Les Acacias

A passionate documentary maker

Born on 17 November 1967 in Xi'an, Wang Bing is a documentary filmmaker. After studying photography at the Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts in Shenyang from 1992 to 1995, he joined the Department of Photography at the Beijing Academy of Film. He began his work as a documentary maker in 1999 and his first feature film, West of the Tracks, was released in 2003. Five years later, he directed Coal Money, which refers to the journey made by coal, from extraction to sale, in northern China, and then Man with No Name, tracing a man's solo journey through rural China, released the following year. In 2017, he won the Golden Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival for Mrs. Fang. Selected at the Festival de Cannes, his latest film, Youth (Spring), will be released in France on 3 January 2024. 


A depiction of youth sacrificed

In the first of a trilogy of films dedicated to the same characters, Wang Bing follows a group of young textile workers in the Wuxing District. 100 miles from Shanghai, they leave their rural villages to emigrate to the manufacturing city for a better future. As the seasons change, loves and friendships form as these workers' innocence and youth evaporate into exile, financial difficulties and social pressure. 


Immersion in the heart of China

To film Youth (Spring), Wang Bing moved to a neighbouring town of Zhili for several years. This allowed him to film the workers at their workplaces, following them back to their home provinces to celebrate Chinese New Year. Initially, the film lasted around 10 hours, but Wang Bing finally reduced it to 3h30. A testament to his long-term immersion process, he delivers a terrifying documentary about a worn-out system, which he succeeds in infusing with energy and light. 


A feature film supported by Aide aux cinémas du monde

Selected at the 2023 Cannes Festival, Youth (Spring) was supported by Aide aux cinémas du monde, a selective grant co-managed by the Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée and the Institut français. It is reserved for feature film projects of fiction, animation, or creative documentary intended for an initial cinematic release. The film also received the Golden Horse Award for Best Documentary Film in 2023.