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Painting for the Revolution

Ai XIaoming and Hu Jie

Release year: 2005

Film type: Documentary


Hu County, located in suburban Xi'an of Shanxi province, was well known for its peasants' painting in 1958, when China witnessed its Great Leap. Its fame went up to the highest during the Cultural Revolution and was hailed as the Model Paintings. The directors visited the county in 2005 and interviewed the peasant painters such as Liu Zhide, Li Fenglan, their tutors and the professor from Central Academic of Fine Arts. The professor once even setup the school there. Chen Danqing, the famous arts critic comments on the phenomena in connection with the Leftist movement. With the comparison of different ages the political language, the artistic imagination and the paintings, the film pulls in diverse sources: the old documentary film clips, the new propaganda paintings covered over the blurred old one, Beijing Opera in "Qin" accent (local accent) and the new life traces at the current background. All the elements were engaged so well that it helped to better understand the peasants there and evoked the research interests on the propaganda paintings in Cultural Revolution.


Director biography

Ai Xiaoming A feminist professor at Sun Yat-Sen (Zhongshan) University, the Director of the Comparative Literature Section in the Department of Chinese, and the Program Leader of the Sex/Gender Education Forum. She has also worked as a translator and director for the Chinese version of the performance 'The Vagina Monologues.' Additionally, she has collaborated with Hu Jie on documentaries such as 'Taishi Village,' 'Painting for the Revolution - Peasant Paintings from Hu County, China,' 'White Rainbow,' and 'The Vagina Monologues: Stories from China.' The latter was selected for the Women’s Film Festival organized by City University of New York as a side event of the United Nations' 49th session of the Commission on the Status of Women.

Hu Jie
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.