Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Antonioni - China 1972

Chung Kuo (Italy) / Cina
Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Footage: 217min
Year: 1972
Invited to China by the Chinese government, at the height of the Cultural Revolution, Antonioni made a documentary about new China which was fiercely condemned by the Chinese government for seeing the "wrong" China (just as Zabriskie Point was denounced for seeing the wrong America). Chung Kuo consists of three parts. The first part, taken around Beijing, includes kids at an elementary school; older sections of the city; a clinic where a Caesarean operation is performed, using acupuncture; and a cotton mill and its workers. The second part visits the Red Flag canal and a collective farm in Henan, as well as the old city of Suzhou. The final part shows the port and industries of Shanghai. The film and ends with a stage presentation by Chinese acrobats. We see clean streets, apparently happy and well-fed people, bright and beautiful children, an orderly and progressive society... Day-to-day life at every level is captured by the hand-held cameras.

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