© Antony Gormley's Waste Man commissioned by Artangel for Penny Woolcock's feature film Exodus
Director: Yang Rui (China)
Run time: 91'
Location/Ethnic group: Daliang Mountains, Sichuan, China/ Yi
Language: In Yi with English subtitles
Production/Distribution: Beijing Film Academy's Youth Studio, Cindy Zeng, Hart Center of Arts
The Yi ethnic minority live in the Daliang Mountain region of Sichuan. For hundreds, even thousands of years, their priests, known as 'Bimo', have relied on memorized scriptures to communicate their people's desires to ghosts and spirits. This film follows the story of three very different Bimos. The Spell-Casting Bimo comes from a clan famous for the power of their curses. He specializes in black magic rituals. One curse is enough to hurt, even kill a person. But with the prohibition of these ceremonies by the Communist government, he has fallen from a position of feared power to sad unemployment. The Soul-Calling Bimo is the respected master of white magic. He cures the sick and calls to souls for help and good fortune. But his past hides sadness and pain. In his quest to father a son to whom he can pass on his Bimo scriptures, he has married four times. By the time he finally had a son, at 64 years old, his abandoned previous three wives had died heart-broken and alone. The Village Cadre Bimo is empowered by the government with both religious Bimo and political cadre status. He holds power in the world of people and the world of spirits. However, when he abuses this power during the village mayor elections, he is dismissed by the government. Times change, but the ancient stories of the Bimo continue.
Yang Rui studied for a journalism degree at Liaoning University, 1991-1995 and then directed documentaries for the Liao Ning TV station. From 2002-2005, she studied at the Beijing Film Academy. She worked as assistant director to Tian Zhuangzhuang on two feature films, Delamu (2003) and Go Master (2004). The documentary The Bimo Records is her directorial feature debut.