Dead Souls (Si hun ling)
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A massive, imposing work of non-fiction filmmaking that demands attention despite also being the sort of artwork that doesn't really need any of our attention to be great. 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.
Dead Souls is thoroughly focused and tightly structured. And it is an immensely perceptive piece about the history of China and its multitude of discontents.
This essential documentary is necessarily, unflinchingly grim; the cinematic equivalent of walking in the survivors’ shoes, and a complex, challenging but crucial viewing experience that burrows its immense sorrows deep into the audience’s bones.