Directed by HU Jie • Documentary • 2009 • 101 minutes
Condemned "Rightists," sentenced to 21 years of thought reform in the countryside, share harrowing first-person accounts of life in a Chinese labor camp.
In 1957, 200 teachers, students, and cadres were labeled as "Rightists" for voicing criticism of the Communist Party and sent to the East Wind State Farm in southwest China. As part of China's disastrous Great Leap Forward, these inmates were forced to take part in ill-conceived deforestation, agricultural and industrial projects that led to wide-scale famine. Later they endured the Cultural Revolution when their camp was visited by large groups of "sent-down" youth from the cities. After 21 years of "remolding," the "Rightists" were finally "rehabilitated" in 1978 and allowed to leave in 1978.
THE EAST WIND STATE FARM re-examines the tragic events of Chinese modern history during the height of Maoist rule. Director Hu Jie collects dozens of extensive interviews with both inmates and staff who served through three decades of the camp's existence.
"A film that should be seen by anybody interested by how a simple idea, propagated by an autocratic national leader, can lead a country to disaster." —Open City London Festival
"Profiles a handful of survivors from a farm labor camp in rural, southwestern China; those who lived spent more than 20 years in the camp before getting an official pardon. "Hu Jie's body of work puts a human face on some of the worst horrors of the Communist Party's recent history." —Matthew Bell, Public Radio International