A three-and-a-half-hour TV documentary in the People’s Republic of China. Representative of the early 70s in the middle of Cultural Revolution, Antonioni travels for 22 days thousands of kilometers -along a strictly established path -set by Chinese authorities- visiting palaces, factories, campaigns, metropolies, party seats, hospitals maintaining all the cool objectivity possible. This movie, has three parts — the first set in Beijing, the second in various towns and cities along the Yangtze River and the third in Shanghai. This breathtaking portrait show us a repertoire of looks, faces, habits and the simplicity of human behaviour void of any trace of luxury , but full of deep dignity.
Because of this cool objectivity was caught in a political struggle between the foreign minister Zhou Enlai and that country's hard-line who made the director the target of an aggressive campaign against him. As clarified by the director, his intent was not to create a film tour as a tourist. In fact before introducing the last scene, the director inserts the last narrative voice that reads a Chinese proverb: “You can draw the skin of a tiger, not it's bones. You can draw a man's face, but not his heart” .The narrative voice, concise and fluid, does not fill the whole space of the documentary but alternates with extensive descriptive images that speak for themselves, creating an atmosphere that resembles Chinese poetry.
Chung Kuo, China
director MICHELANGELO ANTONIONI
director of photography LUCIANO TOVOLI
words SILVIA GAIA MARCELLI
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