Dead Souls (2018)
Critic Reviews for Dead Souls
Beyond just capturing and filing memories, Wang is after how his subjects process their trauma, how they frame the horror of their experiences, and how they've coped with survivors' guilt.
Charting the origins, operations and outcomes of a far-flung Chinese labor camp in the late 1950s/early 1960s, the documentary offers affecting and harrowing accounts from those who survived the gulag.
A powerfully sobering and clear-eyed investigation that justifies its length through the gravity and presence of its testimony.
It's the unification of perspective that gives Dead Souls its authority, and allows it to become an incisive reappropriation of collectivist solidarity.
The extreme length of Wang's film serves to demonstrate the innocence of the victims and the culpability of the system, as the accounts corroborate one another through sheer repetition, accumulating into a vehement and incontrovertible j'accuse.
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