Dead Souls (2018)
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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.
Taken together, it's an overwhelming and damning portrait, but the film's power lies in heartbreaking, idiosyncratic and overlapping details.
Dead Souls is a daunting cinematic achievement worth wrestling with. A work of pure, undiluted empathy and emotion, Dead Souls is as pure and daring as documentary filmmaking tends to get.
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