Once Upon a Time Proletarian: 12 Tales of a Country

Women Cengjing de Wuchanzhe
Director: Xiaolu Guo

China, UK, documentary, 74 min., 2009, lithuanian and english subtitles
The documentary “Once Upon a Time Proletarian: 12 Tales of a Country” by Xiaolu Guo is a subjective anatomy of contemporary China in the post-Marxist era. 12 chapters explore facets of the Chinese socio-political landscape. The film shows people from different classes: an old peasant, a millionaire, a young migrant, a weapon factory worker longing for the days of Mao, a successful hotel owner, fish merchants, young kids dreaming of becoming famous western artists… “In this film, there are many faces and voices. They are like archives documenting our history and our present,” says the director. With a poetic and existentialist visual mind this film contemplates a vast and complex society of a rapidly developing country and demonstrates how the individual is conflicting with his time and history.

About the director:
Filmmaker and novelist Xiaolu Guo was born in 1973 in a fishing village in southern China. She studied at the Beijing Film Academy, National Film and Television School in England. Xiaolu Guo has lived in London since 2002, and returns to China every year to film. Her novels are being published in Europe and the USA, and many of her documentary and feature films have received international critical acclaim: “How Is Your Fish Today?” (Jin tian de yu zen me yang?, 2006) won a special award at the Rotterdam Film Festival and a Grand Prix at the Créteil International Women Film Festival, “She, a Chinese” (2009) won the Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival (Switzerland). Her latest documentary “Once Upon a Time Proletarian: 12 Tales of a Country” (Women cengjing de wuchanzhe, 2009) has been presented at the Venice Film Festival’s “Horizons” section in 2009.

Section: Identity

Screenplay: Xiaolu Guo

Dir. of Photography: Xiaolu Guo

Music: Philippe Ciompi, Matt Scott