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Grandfather, Great Famine

Guo Rui

Release year: 2013

Run time: 76 mins

Film type: Documentary


I have never met my grandfather, because he died before I was born. My parents mentioned my grandfather not much, so I knew little about him. In 2013, I went back to my father's village, Daguo Cun in Henan Sheng Linying Xian, where he was born and brought up, to interview the old people experienced the 1959-1961 famine. This progress revealed my grandfather's image gradually. Why did I go back to this village? I was neither born nor brought up here. I had no nostalgia. I think I am tracing the origin and power of my name. During my interviews, I constantly told the old people I was the granddaughter of Guo Gaoling. And this was the only way that I went close to the village people. I was increasingly curious about my grandfather after I knew that he was a cadre. How did he behave as a village head in the great famine? How's his daily life? What's his power and duty? At the same time, I was collecting the death stories and death names in the great famine. For me, grandfather and the great famine seem to be the chance and guide to my hometown.


Director biography

Guo Rui, a documentary filmmaker, journalist, and now a lawyer. She was born in 1988 in Linying County, Henan Province. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree in History from Henan University in 2009 and a Master's degree in History from Nankai University in 2012. In 2013, she completed the documentary feature "Grandpa's Famine" (75 minutes) and in 2014, she completed the documentary feature "The Singing of Women and Rivers" (72 minutes). From 2014 to 2018, she worked as a journalist for Phoenix Net's Deep Reporting team, based in Beijing. She was a senior journalist and producer, reporting on news in China, focusing on politics, society, public welfare, labor, gender, and other fields. From 2018 to 2023, she worked as a journalist for the SCMP China team of the South China Morning Post, based in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. Her reporting focused on elite politics, policies, human rights, and women's rights. Her work has won numerous domestic and international journalism awards, including the highest award from the Phoenix Editorial Committee, the SCMP Editorial Committee Award, and the SOPA Award. Starting in 2023, she works as a lawyer based in Beijing, specializing in commercial dispute resolution and criminal defense.