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1966, My Time in the Red Guards

Wu Wenguang

Release year: 1993

Run time: 135 mins

Film type: Documentary


In 1966 I was ten years old. I lived in Kunming, a city three days by train from Beijing. The window of my house looked out over Red Sun Square in the centre, an imitation of Tiananmen Square, built during the Cultural Revolution. Twenty-five years later, in winter 1991, I was in Beijing, the birthplace of so many Red Guards. I started to interview these "old timers of the Great Revolution". The documentary 1966, My Time in the Red Guards , is the result of a whole year's work, and endless research and exhausting interview sessions with various people. It was exploring the tunnel of history; I often had the feeling I was in a huge black hole. I tried to "unravel" history and hope I was able to "stop" time for a moment, so that we can look at the movement of history and see how people really lived.


Director biography

Wu was born in southwestern China’s Yunnan Province in 1956. After graduating from secondary school in 1974, Wu was sent to the countryside, where he worked as a farmer for four years. Between 1978 and 1982, he studied Chinese literature at Yunnan University. After university, Wu worked for three years as a teacher at a junior high school, and after, for four years in television as a journalist. Wu left television and moved to Beijing in 1988 to be an independent documentary filmmaker, freelance writer, and creator and producer of dance/theatre. Wu has completed ten documentaries, including Bumming in Beijing (1990), 1966, My Time in the Red Guards (1993), Jiang Hu: Life on the Road (1999), Fuck Cinema (2005), Treating (2010), Bare Your Stuff (2010), Because of Hunger: Diary I by Wu (2013), Investigating My Father (2016). These have screened at many film festivals world-wide. He has also published four books of no-fiction. In 1994, Wu co-founded the independent dance group Living Dance Studio with Wen Hui in Beijing, and created/performed a series of dance performances. These included works like Report on Giving Birth (1999), Report on the Body (2003), Report on 37.8 º (2005), Memory (2008), Memory II: Hunger (2010), which have toured festivals all over the world. In 2005, Wu co-founded the independent art space Caochangdi Workstation in Beijing. Since then, Wu has established a series of documentary and performance programmes, in particular the Village Documentary Project (established in 2005) and Folk Memory Project (established in 2010).


  • 1993 Ogawa Shinsuke Prize Yamagata International Film Festival