Release year: 2012
Run time: 110 mins
Film type: Documentary
Duan Peidong, a farmer in Tengchong County, Yunnan Province, was in jail for nine years. During this period, he came into contact with some Kuomintang veterans of the War of Resistance against Japan, and learned a spectacular history of this war—the Kuomintang’s triumphant achievements on the frontal battlefield. After he was released from prison, he began to research arduously. He even dug a cave as a study room, spent countless nights under a small oil lamp, and finally wrote his 380,000-character manuscript that uncovered the buried history of the War of Resistance in Tengchong. Director Wang Yunlong met Mr Duan 17 years ago and filmed him for his documentary Peasant Writer Lao Duan, making him a grassroots celebrity. In 2008, Wang Yunlong visited Mr Duan again and found that he had completely changed. He was boastful and full of lies. He claimed to be a “Spokesperson for the Chinese nation” and hung a big golden plaque named “Son of the East” in his yard... In the intervening 17 years, he had entered the leadership of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, served as the vice chairman of the Federation of Literary and Art Circles, and the chairman of the Writers Association. He had changed from an honest, conscientious, and courageous peasant writer into a propaganda tool. This film records how a person goes from pursuing the truth to losing their sincerity.
Wang Yunlong joined the military art troupe in the 1950s as an actor and choreographer and participated in the Sino-Vietnamese border war. In the late 1980s, he began to produce documentary films, completing more than 20 works. Among them, Singing Praise , which reflects the transformation of a peasant writer, and To Justify Bu Qinfu , about actors who died in the Cultural Revolution, have been highly critically acclaimed.