The East Wind State Farm
Release year: 2009
Run time: 104 mins
Film type: Documentary
In 1957, 200 teachers, students, and cadres were labelled as “Rightists” for their criticisms of the Communist Party and exiled to southwest China, to the East Wind State Farm. As part of the Great Leap Forward they were forced to undertake deforestation, agricultural, and industrial projects that resulted in general famine. Later, during the Cultural Revolution, the camp was visited by a large group of urban “sent down” youth. Finally, over two decades later, the “Rightists” were rehabilitated in 1978 and allowed to return home. This documentary examines these tragic events through dozens of interviews with camp inmates and staff who worked at East Wind State Farm throughout its existence.
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.