Bumming in Beijing: the Last Dreamers
Release year: 1990
Run time: 70 mins
Film type: Documentary
This film is an account of the wanderings of five young artists who came to Beijing from the provinces in the late 1980s. In order to pursue their own artistic dreams they rejected state-assigned jobs and led a precarious life in Beijing without a fixed income or the security of a home. This film started shooting in 1988 and was completed in 1990. By the end of the film, only one of the five artists remained in Beijing, the other four having left China for Europe and the United States.
Wu Wenguang 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).