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Three Sisters

Wang Bing / CN, 2012 / 153 min.

Every day three young sisters in a mountain village in China have to toil and fend for themselves, in this socially committed documentary by Wang Bing. He won the EYE Art & Film Prize, currently the subject of an exhibition at.


The mother of the three sisters in this documentary has abandoned them, while their father works in a city far away, The three girls aged four, six and ten spend the autumn on their grandfather”s farm high up in the mountains near the Burmese border. They have to work hard every day and look after the many animals on the farm. Their only food is a few potatoes. The eldest looks after her two younger sisters, a burden too heavy for her young age.

The poor villagers don”t profit from their country”s thriving economy. The children endure their harsh life with a cheerful resilience. Sometimes they roam around the farm, where the wind always seems to blow. This misty landscape provides a welcome change from the darks spaces in the farmstead.

Wang Bing told EYE Exposed how he as a filmmaker related to the villagers. He helped them by giving them food and clothes, not just the three sisters, but the entire village. His film tells the real story of their lives, though he was powerless to change how they live. Wang Bing sometimes wonders why he continues making films, as his films are unable to effect a change. He is just an individual caught in a system, like his protagonists. The only thing he can do is hope his films are watched.

Three Sisters is screened without a break.



Wang Bing

Production year




Original title

Three Sisters


153 min.



Part of

Hito Steyerl, Ben Rivers, Wang Bing - EYE Art & Film Prize

The intersection between film and visual art is an important focus of exhibition policy at Eye. To underline this, Eye and the Paddy and Joan Leigh Fermor Arts Fund launched an annual prize in 2015 to promote new work by an artist/filmmaker who is making an important contribution to this interdisciplinary field.

Learn more
Hito Steyerl, Liquidity, Inc. (2014)
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