SAC ASEAN Film Festivals 2020

Three Sisters

Three Sisters

Runtime : 2h 33min
Country : France, Hong Kong
Director : WANG Bing
Showtime : SAT, 29 February 2020 at 1:00-4:00 PM
Venue : Multimedia Room, 2nd Floor, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre (Public Organization)


Three little sisters, YING (10 years old), ZHEN (6 years old) and FEN (4 years old) live alone in a small village in the high mountains of the Yunnan region. The father works in the town a few hundred kilometers down the mountain and the mother has left long ago. The little girls
don’t go to school, spending their days working in the fields or wandering in the village.
Quiet and patient, YING takes care of her two sisters and does most of the fieldwork.
Sometime, they help their grandfather and aunt in exchange for a meal.
One day the father returns from the city. Worrying that his girls would grow up without
someone taking care of them, he decides to take with him to the city the younger ones and
leave YING alone under the supervision of her grandfather. YING now has to adapt to an
even more solitary life.

Director’s Notes

This film introduces an ordinary poor peasant’s family and their daily lives. We follow the relation between the family members, how in such misery men are capable of adapting themselves in order to survive, how even in the middle of nothing children manage to grow up, how the daily minute things are mountains for those 3 girls.

When I first met the family about 2 years ago, I was touched by the incredibly difficult situation in which those kids were growing up. It reminded me of my childhood, and the poverty I had to face and adapt to. It’s an inhuman world where these young human beings live like animals, yet at the same time so human as the bound exists between them helps them cope with life. This is why I want to testify about the reality of these poor peasants’ children’s life in contemporary China. The image of modernity, of economic development, and of an almost occidental world that China is presenting nowadays has slowly made the other side – the human side – disappear from our sight. What about the humanity in all of that? Those who can’t go to school because of the lack of money? And those who survive without much hope to benefit from the economical growth?

I didn’t want to make an ethnographical study of the family. I wanted to leave the experience of this life directly to the audience, with the idea of a direct comprehension of the universality of those children’s lives, a more objective and direct image of their reality, in order to feel and understand in their inner self the intimate feelings of this family. That’s why I filmed with steady shoots and cameras to amplify all the details of their existence and of the duration and time of their daily schedule. We are the witnesses of their
primitive life.

The story of this film is the pure and simple one of human beings.