In 1972, the Chinese government invited Michelangelo Antonioni – no capitalist he – to make a documentary about the new China they were forging. When the Italian strayed from the party line, the Communists went bananas – and he hadn’t even shot any of the brutality of the cultural revolution.
In truth, the behind-the-scenes story is the best thing about it. Made for Italian TV, the pace can be molasses slow – a problem when clocking in at 208 mins.
Dipped into, though, it’s a fascinating document of life behind the bamboo curtain well before the dawning of the Chinese century.