The course charted by Michelangelo Antonioni in Chung Kuo China presents unforgettable glimpses of one of the world's richest cultures. Although he visits familiar sights such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, the film's focus is fixed towards the people themselves. Across China, from major cities like Beijing and Shanghai to the Henan province, people struggle amidst poverty and hardship to sustain the collective revolutionary spirit that liberated them. Chung Kuo is an indelible time capsule of the aftermath of Mao's Cultural Revolution, the defining event of Modern China. Despite receiving the direct support of the Chinese Communist Party during production, Chung Kuo provoked a strong backlash on its initial release, earning rebuke from Mao Zedong himself. While well received in the West, the film did not find its intended audience until its 2004 screening at the Beijing Cinema Institute. One of Antonioni's most innovative works, formerly languishing as a prized object in cinema archives, Chung Kuo China's vision achieves greater resonance in the 21st Century than the time of its release.
Among Antonioni's finest documentary achievements --A History of Narative Film
A work that manifested, from the start, an attitude of warm and cordial participation in the great event of the Chinese people --Umberto Eco
Inspirational... Antonioni's images simply mean more than any images the Chinese release of themselves --Susan Sontag