About the shifting, unpredictable currents behind the Chinese Cultural Revolution, this documentary shows the various phases of the 12 years from 1964 through the purging of the Gang of ... See full summary »


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Credited cast:
Qing Jiang ...
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Nanyang Li ...
Rui Li ...
Shao-Chi Liu ...
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Ting Liu ...
Xiaohai Luo ...
Zedong Mao ...
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Deng Xiaoping ...
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Weili Ye ...
Luoke Yu ...
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Enlai Zhou ...
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About the shifting, unpredictable currents behind the Chinese Cultural Revolution, this documentary shows the various phases of the 12 years from 1964 through the purging of the Gang of Four at the end of 1976, with some retrospective information about the Long March and the 1958 Great Leap forward. It is built around contemporary interviews with survivors of three families: The most prominent is Liu Shaoqi, the President of China until 1967 & the highest ranking target of the revolution, his wife, Wang Guangmei and his daughter Liu Ting. The most complete coverage was given to a former secretary to Mao, Li Rui, who was banished when he questioned the Great Leap forward. He was rehabilitated in the early 60's, but not brought back into the Party and was banished again when the Cultural revolution started. Li's daughter Li Nanyang who was 11 or 12 when Li Rui was first imprisoned, was a staunch supporter of the Cultural Revolution, but she was never allowed to join the Party because of... Written by Maple-2

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cultural revolution | china | See All (2) »





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24 September 2003 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Aurinko nousee idästä  »

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The meaning of "permanent revolution"
30 July 2005 | by (Saffron Walden, UK) – See all my reviews

As Orwell observed, most revolutions involve merely an exchange of elites, while the bulk of a society's power structures remain in place. On one hand, this thought is depressing, as it implies that a true redistribution of power and wealth is essentially impossible. But revolutionaries from Lenin onwards have discovered that a measure of realpolitik is necessary if a state is not to completely collapse under the impact of dramatic change. China's cultural revolution stands somewhat in opposition to this orthodoxy, a revolution that effectively sought to destroy all institutions in which power was embedded, and which reduced China to a state of violent semi-anarchy. The key to this distinctiveness was the way that this revolution was directed against the victors of an earlier, more conventional, upheaval, but under the leadership of the same man.

China in the mid-1960s had been under communist rule since 1945; the party leader, Mao, was the object of cult adoration, but after misjudgements Mao as an individual had been somewhat marginalised from the political mainstream. Mao responded by using his unrivalled status to appeal directly to the public and attack his fellow communists, accusing his opponents of betraying the cause. In effect, Mao distanced himself from the failures of his own, first revolution; and called on the people to revolt against a system that no-one was ultimately more responsible for than he himself. The cultural revolution empowered a generation of young people, brought up to idolise their Chairman, to assault authority in whatever guise it appeared (save, of course, for the unquestionable authority of Mao himself). The forces thus unleashed granted Mao a total political victory over his enemies, but in a sense, Mao could only surf the wave of what he had released, a kind of madness that gathered momentum of its own.

'A Morning Sun' is a strong documentary attempting to explain these unlikely times to a modern, western audience. It contains much excellent footage, and interviews with many who lived through these turbulent times, including now-repentant Red Guards and the class enemies they beat up. Although no-one actively defends the Chairman, the film still provides an interesting insight into the psychology that allowed the revolution to unfold. My only criticism is that while the Chinese interviewees are dubbed into American voices, the faintly querulous and superior English narration strikes a slightly discordant note.

Today, China is capitalist is all but name; yet Mao is still revered. A visit reveals a fascinating society that feels in many ways different from the west. 'A Morning Sun' is well worth watching to help us understand a relatively recent historical episode that has few direct parallels elsewhere in the world.

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