Night and Fog in Zona
For one whole winter, South Korean film critic Jung Sung-il followed his hero, Chinese documentary maker Wang Bing. Bing is known for his long films, which last between nine and fifteen hours. Bing explains why in Night and Fog in Zona, a portrait that unerringly imitates Bing's style - including the length!
After the South Korean film critic Jung Sung-il saw Wang Bing’s monumental, nine-hour documentary Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks at IFFR 2003, he wanted to make a film about him. Years later, Wang invited the critic to come to the Chinese province of Yunnan, where he was working a whole winter long on two documentaries: the sequel to Three Sisters (2012) and the film ’Til Madness Do Us Part (2013), situated in a mental hospital.
In Night and Fog in Zona, Jung talks to Wang about his ideas on cinema, in which the concept of time is crucial and for both of them Tarkovsky is a hero. Jung’s style mirrors that of Wang, not only in length (his ‘cine essay’ lasts almost 4 hours) but also in his predilection for observational long takes, the absence of a voiceover, abstract landscapes and minimalist music. One of the most beautiful shots shows a sleeping Wang in slow motion: time has congealed even more.