China’s reception of Michelangelo Antonioni’s Chung Kuo | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 2, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2047-7368
  • E-ISSN: 2047-7376



In 1972, during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Michelangelo Antonioni was invited by Chinese government to document the New China. After three weeks of filming, Antonioni edited the footage into a three and a half hour documentary entitled Chung Kuo/China (1972). However, this film was banned in 1974 by the Chinese government, and Antonioni became target of a massive criticism campaign in China. Only as late as 2004 was the ban lifted and the documentary finally shown at Beijing Film Academy. This article is conceived as a measured methodological intervention into China’s reception of Antonioni’s Chung Kuo. I examine the social and historical contexts of China’s reception of the film, attempting to reveal the complex motivations behind China’s reactions in different periods. The first section analyses the international tensions that China was facing in 1970s. The second section describes the domestic social and political environment in which the criticism against Antonioni was initiated. The third section addresses Chinese audiences’ responses to Chung Kuo after the Cultural Revolution, while the fourth section outlines a series of Chinese multi-media artworks inspired by Chung Kuo.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a success
Invalid data
An error occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error