A concise and insightful account of the psycho-dynamics of Mao's 'Cultural Revolution' (1966-76), focused on the frenzied militancy and subsequent disillusionment of the teenage 'Red Guards' - Mao compared them with the 'Morning Sun' - who ran wild in the anarchic years of 1966-68. The documentary starts from the assumption that youthful rebellion is a timeless adolescent impulse, noting that it's defined and channelled by its particular historical moment. Chinese kids of the mid-1960s were fired up by, among other things, the Ming Dynasty novel Journey to the West (starring the Monkey King, disrespectful of all authority) and the 1958 Soviet movie The Gadfly (based on a Victorian British novel, starring a young Oedipal revolutionary). Carefully chosen archive footage is combined with first person testimonies from key players who have never spoken on the record before, but the film's trump card is its witty integration of clips from feature films, not only the obvious Maoist propaganda warhorses but also (fascinatingly) The Gadfly itself.
Cast and crew
|Director:||Carma Hinton, Richard Gordon, Geremie R, Barmé|