Dead Souls

2018

Dead Souls

Critics Consensus

Dead Souls excavates a government's sins with personal accounts that preserve the past while illuminating the problems of the present.

100%

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Reviews Counted: 21
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Movie Info

In Gansu Province, northwest China, lie the remains of countless prisoners abandoned in the Gobi Desert sixty years ago. Deemed "ultra-rightists" in the Communist Party's Anti-Rightist campaign of 1957, they starved to death in the Jiabiangou and Mingshui reeducation camps. Directed by Wang Bing (Fengming), one of the most important Chinese artists and documentarians working today, Dead Souls invites us to meet the survivors of the camps to find out firsthand who these persons were, the hardships they were forced to endure, and what became their destiny.

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Critic Reviews for Dead Souls

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (7)

In addition to being a work of memory that brings the past imaginatively to light, "Dead Souls" is a film of resistance that, in discussing the past, also confronts the present-day activities of the Chinese government.

Dec 20, 2018 | Full Review…

Like a monolith, this thing just is. It also just happens to be great, sometimes despite and sometimes because of its mega-sized breadth and scope.

Dec 14, 2018 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Even the modest settings - a floral cushion here, a scattered piece of clothing or unmade bed there - give us a sense of the texture of these lives.

Dec 13, 2018 | Full Review…

Wang's film is a vital excavation of history in danger of being eroded away.

Nov 29, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
Guardian
Top Critic

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.

May 12, 2018 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
AV Club
Top Critic

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.

May 11, 2018 | Full Review…

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