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Red Art

Hu Jie

Release year: 2014

Run time: 70 mins

Film type: Documentary


The documentary Red Art sets out to reveal the trends and features of artworks during the Cultural Revolution through a rich collection of propaganda posters and personal stories. The filmmaker interviewed former painters and Red Guards as well as contemporary art researchers and collectors both in China and UK in order to understand the rise, development, and influences of these artworks.The film shows how, at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, the propaganda posters were made to propagate violence as part of the revolution and Mao the iconic figure. Later, painters adopted more and more realistic art skills into their works that brought about changes to the representations of the revolution. By reviewing propaganda posters in a historical context, the documentary film sheds light on the aesthetics of the totalitarian regime; it also introduces alternative perspectives in understanding the interactions between visual arts and the Cultural Revolution.


Director biography

Hu Jie is an independent historian, artist, and filmmaker. Born in Jinan, Shandong in 1958, he graduated from the Art College of the People’s Liberation Army. He works in oils and woodcuts from his lakeside studio in Nanjing. His films are among the most important documents of China’s unacknowledged “unoffcial history”, and include Looking for Lin Zhao’s Soul (2005), about a martyr-poet critic of Mao; and Though I Am Gone (2007), about an elite Beijing girls’ high school whose students murdered their headmaster at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution.