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94 Ratings

Chung Kuo China

Chung Kuo - Cina

Italy, 1972


The course charted by Michelangelo Antonioni in Chung Kuo China presents unforgettable glimpses of one of the world’s richest cultures. Although he visits familiar sights such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, the film’s focus is fixed towards the people themselves.

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Chung Kuo China Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni
In eschewing interviews, Chung Kuo—Cina differs markedly from Joris Ivens’s 763-minute China-shot documentary behemoth How Yukong Moved the Mountains (1976), but the reason for Antonioni’s tactic is clear. He trusts the testimony of the camera-eye to tell him something that no vetted and overseen interview will. Barbato later provides a final disclaimer, drawn from a Chinese proverb: "You can depict a tiger’s skin, but not his bones. You can depict people’s faces, but not their hearts.
January 05, 2018
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It is a major accomplishment by a great filmmaker. . . . Antonioni’s sense of China as offering a “vast repertoire of human behavior” might seem patronizing, but his travelogue is generally affirmative and admiring as well as entrancing.
December 28, 2017
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When I first saw the film in Sydney back in the early 2000s, I knew very little about China. . . . [Antonioni’s] images so enthralled me they added considerable impetus to my long-held desire to visit the country, which I did for the first time shortly after. Although I now look at the film through the filter of four years living in Beijing and numerous other visits to China, my admiration for Antonioni’s documentary has, if anything, increased.
March 14, 2015
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