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97 Ratings

Bitter Money

Ku Qian

Directed by Wang Bing
Hong Kong, France, 2016


In a fast growing city of East China, migrants have been arriving and living for a dream of a better life. But what they find there is little opportunities and poor living conditions that push people, even couples, into violent and oppressive relations.

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Bitter Money Directed by Wang Bing
However local, “Bitter Money” is also universal. The spectacle of these men and women hunched over their sewing machines will not only resonate with those whose family histories include time working in a sweatshop, but anyone who reaps the benefit of inexpensive Chinese-manufactured clothing, which is to say, everyone.
April 26, 2019
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Despite its air of desperation, Bitter Money is never less than engrossing. Wang keeps you on your toes by shifting focus from one subject to another when you least expect it, and the cumulative effect of the various portraits is an eye-opening.
March 30, 2018
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As with his other films, Wang made Bitter Money with a minimal budget, a tiny crew, and an auto-focusing DSLR camera — elements which provide an agility and an intimacy uncommon even within the traditions of vérité or “direct cinema” at large. Indeed, his works suggest a more ambiguous position than that of the typical fly on the wall: Wang’s films complexly drift between a more passive observational mode and one more directly engaged with his collaborators.
January 16, 2018
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