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Fascinating look at everyday people in China in 1972. Tours Beijing, a village in Henan Province, Suzhou, Shanghai. Mao didn't appreciate film's rather objective look at the Chinese people-you might. (Someone ought to translate the Mandarin into English subtitles-only the Italian narration is translated.)
An exceptional eye for detail and a rare look at the 'New China', this film in retrospective is both representative of the average intelligent tourist stepping into a new world and a close up look at the price to be paid in the reconstruction of a nation. Admittedly, it is rather hard on any viewer to watch the whole thing in one go.
Italian master filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni was invited by the Chinese government in 1972 to make a documentary on the country, hoping to have him produce a good piece of propaganda in the midst of the Cultural Revolution. He went, was guided around, not left free to roam. And yet he produced a subtly subversive document. Antonioni looked, observed, watched, and: he saw. He filmed people as they were, life as it presented itself to him. We see a baby being born by caesarian cut under acupuncture-induced anaesthesia, children getting educated/indoctrinated, families and friends sitting together, an illegal market, miserable villages in Henan, people working in the fields and factories, people walking, riding bikes, practicing tai chi, people reacting to the camera in Beijing, Nanking, Suzhou, people drinking tea in Shanghai.The picture of China this conveyed was simply human. The documentary was all but flattering - this is not the imagined Communist paradise one gets to see! So the film was banned for 30 years. If you are interested in China and can lay hands on this DVD, do grab it and watch it! This is an amazing historical document. China has changed so much since then! You'll probably also find this is a beautiful piece of art. Antonioni's 6th sense, grasping beauty, the unsaid and the absurd at the same time makes this document his signature: the film ends with a long silent epilogue showing an acrobats' show in Shanghai.
if you are lucky enough to have seen this film, especially projected on big screen you know why I give it 5 stars. Visually amazing.
A long documentary by Antonioni. It is a bit tired for watching a 3.5h documentary in a small studio. The importance of this film is the time and place: 1972 in China. It is not easy to make such a film in China at that moment. The film covered several places, including Beijing, Shanghai, Henan, Suzhou. Although most of the materials are selected by the authority and there are, of course, some bias in point of views by the production team, the film is still great. It is also shocking (and not easy to have a look) a recording of the whole process of a Cesarean Section process by using traditional Acupuncture for Anaesthesia.
A pure documentary of China. The cultural and historial value is very high as we can see what China looked like and how Chinese lived in 1972 in the eyes of a foreigner.
I like the Cino movie, despite I couldn't understand everything in Italian (the good thing is they don't say much in the movie)!! still waiting for a friend coming from Roma to translate it for me!!!...
The movie is very unique on its own, it is long, runs more than 3 hours. I first read it from an ethnologist's site... Antonioni came to China in the very special period of culture revolution with Mao's permission...
It's a particular interesting period: not just politically and socially; but also my parents' generation lived through the time. They spent their youth in the countyside working in the paddyfield away from their cities and their fimilies; they were not just growing crops, but also thoughts and believes in their mind! They are the ones shaped and built the modern China today!!
As this period is hardly captured in any chinese documentatories, this Italian version is a find! The movie itself is very touching and real despite Antonioni was only allowed to film in certain areas... it's also interesting to see it from an outsider's point of view through Antonioni's lens. Admire his initiative of travelling so far with his crews and making the movie in the 70's.
Uno sguardo alla Cina di Mao attraverso il volto delle persone
The only Antonioni film that loses its value as time passes by. No meaningful contents or in-depth intepretation whatsoever that a documentary requires.
In terms of film, not necessarily the greatest work. But in terms of actual cultural significance, extremely high. It was the western world's first view of China in 72 and it was depicted as a struggle and oppression for the people. Funny enough, it was the Chinese government that commissioned Antonioni thinking he was a socialist. Luckily as a reflection of changing times, this film was shown in China in 2004. Hopefully this film will now represent hope and change in the mainland.