Release year: 2013
Run time: 132 mins
Film type: Documentary
Much of what we know about China’s Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) concerns the experience of officials and intellectuals. Our understanding of these “ten years of turmoil,” which erupted more than fifty years ago, is therefore urban, with a focus on the China’s political and cultural elites. In his film “Summary of Crimes,” director Xu Xing tackles the question of what happened in the countryside and at the grassroots, in interviews with a group of peasants convicted as counterrevolutionaries during the Cultural Revolution. For many years these peasants had no way of articulating their past sufferings, nor did society at large have any way of accessing the way the Cultural Revolution marked their life courses.
Xu Xing, born 1956 in Beijing, started his career as a novelist and writer. His publication Variation Without a Theme won him accolades at the Beijing University Art Festival and international acclaim and awards such as the Tucholsky Prize for Foreign Literature (Pen International) and “Order of the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres” from the French Ministry of Culture for his translated work.
He has held fellowships and author-in-residence positions in Germany, France and the US. After turning to filmmaking, his documentaries were selected for film festivals garnering awards from Korea and the Awards Forum for Independent Documentary (AIF). His work has been widely shown in the US at Harvard, Yale & Columbia, and in Europe at Berlin, Rome & Aix-en-Provence a.o.