‘Til Madness Do Us Part Screen 14 articles

‘Til Madness Do Us Part

2013

‘Til Madness Do Us Part Poster
  • A typically demanding work, 'Til Madness… is nonetheless one of Wang’s most heartrending works and a portrait of a system too financially preoccupied and uncaring to support its own medical institutions.

  • Much of the film is emotionally tough, and its visual palette is spare and relentlessly gloomy – well over 90% of it is shot on the upper floor of the asylum, overlooking a grey, fetid courtyard, with the only respite taking the ironic shape of the glistening corporate skyscrapers occasionally visible in the background. But the film is far from the minimalist exercise that could have been expected, and in the end becomes something closer to Frederick Wiseman than many of Wang’s earlier films.

  • This overlong but sporadically extraordinary portrait of a forgotten corner of society may be tough going even for fans of forbidding cinema. Mr. Wang, who shot the movie in 2013, spends inordinate time acclimating viewers to the space and its inhabitants’ rituals. He seems to have favored shots in which the subjects, committed for reasons ranging from the criminal to the arguably nonexistent, ignore the camera — a strategy that raises questions about how the filmmaker was received.

  • A Foucauldian vision, Bing’s documentary lays the patient’s plight and vulnerabilities bare before the camera.

  • The reduced exposure is understandable: it may not be everyone’s idea of a good time to spend three hours and 47 minutes in a psychiatric hospital in a remote and impoverished region of southern China. However, for those willing to meet it on its own ground, the film is a profound work, and among the most rewarding contemporary documentary cinema has to offer.

  • Wang’s powers of observation and synthesis reveal uncanny, minor epiphanies amidst the general squalor. He finds capacities for happiness and freedom that many of the patients create under their bleak conditions.

  • Tenderness is both an approach and a coping mechanism in 'Til Madness Do Us Part, Wang Bing's mammoth, ever-shifting documentary about life on one floor of a Chinese mental institution. The clearest sign of Wang's ambition is that it's far easier to define this gentle, immersive giant work of nonfiction based on what it doesn't do than what it does...

  • At thirteen minutes shy of four hours, this observational portrait of a grim cultural reality is undoubtedly a challenge to any viewer's serotonin levels, but it's not harrowing in the kind of Titicut Follies way you might expect. Wang makes long, patient, outraged movies about poverty and deprivation intended to sit you down and make you empathetic to the suffering if it kills you, and this ordeal is more about the waste of stasis and neglect than abuse.

  • It can be discomfiting as it marshals all this restless behavior toward an implicit indictment of the state, the official body ultimately responsible for lumping its most “inconvenient” citizens together and allowing its putative public services to devolve into total disrepair. Yet at the same time, the film has a perhaps even more powerful cumulative effect as record of fraternity in extremis.

  • When the credits rolled I was actually shaken, for after so much time in the booby hatch you begin to accept this world as the only one, to almost feel that this movie has become your life, and that whatever else you had going on before is just a distant afterthought. This dull acceptance is the mindset that the prisoner settles into, and it is the measure of Wang’s brutalizing accomplishment that he acclimates you the viewer until you almost begin to understand it physically, in your very guts.

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    Cine-File Chicago: Ben Sachs
    June 24, 2016 |

    Only at the end of 'TIL MADNESS DO US PART—Wang Bing's epic, challenging, and frequently astonishing documentary—do the filmmakers properly identify where the action takes place and how many of the subjects wound up there. Before then, they simply immerse the viewer in the sights and sounds of a Chinese mental institution that appears to be decades, if not several generations, behind Western standards.

  • In the case of Wang's devastating recent film, ’Til Madness Do Us Part (13), what we feel most viscerally is the pitilessness and ruthlessness of his gaze. Set in a mental institution in a remote part of Yunnan province, where Wang was granted permission to shoot for two and a half months, this four-hour odyssey brings near-microscopic attention to a slow drip of chaos, making each shot land like a new round of punishment.

  • The mad are ignored everywhere. It is only in allowing us a tiny window into their abject suffering that these few unfortunate bastards may have our empathy for a few short hours. They are real when he films them. In this world, that has to count for something because help is never coming.

  • What’s perhaps most shocking is not _what_ we see but _how_ we see it, via Wang’s bravura, long handheld takes, some of which seem like they stretch for hours ... His camera places us _right there_, in ways few documentaries allow themselves the leisure to do. We’re so immersed that when the film leaves the institution for a time late in its third hour, the result is an unlikely epiphany that lasts for a few moments until Wang plunges us right back into the inferno.

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