Coal Money

Not available for screening anymore

Coal Money

Directed by Wang Bing

  • Hong Kong 2009; 53 min
  • Original version: Mandarin
  • Genre: Documentary


A northern province of China referred to as Inner Mongolia is a land rich in natural resources. Deposits of coal, copper and oil are found in inaccessible locations and poor infrastructure makes the investments even more difficult. But there is no profit without risk, and he who does not profit is nobody in China. Today’s China is hungry for coal, but coal is heavy, dirty, filled with dust, rocks, and sand. That much is obvious to coal brokers and haulers. Wang Bing’s film, so well composed of long takes shot close to the subjects, shows the painstaking work of drivers who make their living hauling and selling coal. Every piece of coal, every five yuans make a difference, so they have to haggle and look out for manipulations – they cannot get cheated and have to cheat others. Those are the rules of the game, where someone has to lose. Along the way, they also have to handle corrupt police and minor attempts at blackmail. Difficult conditions and constant uncertainty if the invested pittance will net a return frequently generate aggression. Coal money will never bring them happiness




International Sales


    Daniela Elstner