Screening Dates
  • January 19 (Friday) 6:30
  • January 22 (Monday) 6:30
  • January 31 (Wednesday) 6:30
Vancouver Premiere

Youth (Spring) offers a dramatic shift in perspective … Wang’s eye is more exacting than ever, guiding the film through structural uncertainties … [The film] emerges as a compelling depiction of the odd camaraderie bred from shared unfulfillment and hardship.”

Dan Schindel, Reverse Shot

Wang Bing’s latest, massive chronicle of working life in China is a feat of history-making. The 15-hour workdays of the teens and twentysomethings of Zhili City’s toddler-fashion garment workshops obey the law, not of the clock, but of the work rate. Across seven factories (of the estimated 20,000 in the city), Wang accordingly patterns, in 20-minute segments, the commonalities of the trade. There is exhaustion, but also an unpredictable, expectant, and unruly energy—emphasized by the diegetic score of surging sewing machine needles and phone speaker-amplified Mandopop. This is an endlessly eventful world, where barely furnished dormitories and close-quarters workbenches serve as sites of physical education: rigid repetition, improvised labour organizing, flirting, feuding, and the long wait for twice-annual paycheques. The first part of a planned trilogy, Youth (Spring), filmed in 2014, captures the first of Wang’s six years of shooting.

In Chinese regional dialects with English subtitles

One of the 20 Best Films of 2023 (#17)
Film Comment

“[Wang] makes it clear that these workers’ lives are complex, and cannot be reduced to exploitation … In this regard, Youth stands in stark contrast to so many considerations of the Chinese workforce.”

Michael Sicinski, Cinema Scope

Like a Brueghel or a Bosch, Youth (Spring) is less an individual portrait than a bustling portrayal of types—lovesick fools and weary old souls, agitators and wallflowers, peacocks and young parents-to-be—all united and made equal by the same shared and endless labour and the same cramped living quarters.”

Ben Croll, IndieWire