A film by Wang Bing | China, 2014; 3 hrs., 48 mins | Mandarin with English subtitles
There will be a 15 minute intermission with this film.
In his latest documentary film, director Wang Bing gains unprecedented access to a Chinese mental hospital in southwest China.
"An unsparing chronicler of the abused and neglected in his country’s darkest corners, Chinese documentarian Wang Bing pushes his starkly immersive strategies to a grueling yet empathetic extreme in ‘Til Madness Do Us Part.’ There are endurance tests, and then there is this nearly four-hour plunge into the daily tedium and long-term despair of life in a mainland mental hospital, patrolling the same tightly enclosed quarters in a manner that seeks to reproduce, without compromise, an inhabitant’s sense of physical, mental and spiritual entrapment.
Why these men ended up here remains a mystery. The production materials note that some of them have killed, while others ‘are simply outsiders, forsaken by the local government for having upturned the rules.’ . . .Saddest of all is the realization that some of the men have been dumped here simply because they have grown too old, too slow and too difficult for their families to take care of them any longer. The meaning of the film’s title, with its twist on traditional marriage vows, becomes most apparent when one patient scowls his way through a visit from his wife and son, a scene that quietly sketches in their long-broken family dynamics. Elsewhere, a man pleads with a family member from behind bars, ‘I’m not crazy, get me out of here!’ — a rare expression of hopeful defiance in a place where everyone else seems to have given up.” Justin Chang, Chief Film Critic, Variety.