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The Anecdotes of Gelagu

Hu Jie

Release year: 2012

Run time: 42 mins

Film type: Documentary


This documentary records the journey of Zhang Xianchi from a communist Chinese soldier to a prisoner and a writer of independent mind, in some ways just like Solzhenitsyn, the great Russian writer. Mr. Zhang’s book, The Anecdotes of Gelagu, takes us to China’s gulag---a Sichuan laogai camp. The book details an unknown and atrocious episode of history, allowing us to witness human nature under extreme circumstances.


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.