About the shifting, unpredictable currents behind the Chinese Cultural Revolution, this documentary shows the various phases of the 12 years from 1964 through the purging of the Gang of Four at the end of 1976, with some retrospective information about the Long March and the 1958 Great Leap forward. It is built around contemporary interviews with survivors of three families: The most prominent is Liu Shaoqi, the President of China until 1967 & the highest ranking target of the revolution, his wife, Wang Guangmei and his daughter Liu Ting. The most complete coverage was given to a former secretary to Mao, Li Rui, who was banished when he questioned the Great Leap forward. He was rehabilitated in the early 60's, but not brought back into the Party and was banished again when the Cultural revolution started. Li's daughter Li Nanyang who was 11 or 12 when Li Rui was first imprisoned, was a staunch supporter of the Cultural Revolution, but she was never allowed to join the Party because of her father's background. Both daughters' reactions to and discomfort with their fathers was a major thread. This film also highlights the social pressure and Li Nanyang's loss of face among her student peers, which lasted until her father was rehabilitated in 1979. The third family was middle class and capitalist before the 1949 revolution and was therefore suspect. The older brother, Yu Luoke who was refused entry to university, asserted that the revolution was going astray by focusing on the family background of students. His poster asking for equal treatment for everyone, no matter what their family background was celebrated for several months, but then he was arrested and finally executed in 1970. His brother, Yu Luowen now still does not know the whole story, but can tell of how their paper was shut down when the winds changed in 1968. Another thread focused on two teenaged Red Guards, and their disillusionment with the violence that developed after the first few months of the Cultural Revolution.
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