Wu Wenguang and the Memory Project

Independent Chinese Documentary Film Screenings and Discussion

Photo for Wu Wenguang and the Memory
Friday, November 8, 2019
1:00 PM - 10:30 PM
Darren Star Screening Room
Melnitz 1422

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Event Rundown

Self Portrait
3:20-4:30 Q & A
4:30-5:30 Break
5:30-7:00 Dumb Men
7:00-8:00 Q & A
8:15-9:20 Autobiography II: Struggles
9:20-10:30 Q & A


1:30pm - 1. Self-Portrait: Window in 47 KM
Directed, photographed, edited by: Zhang Mengqi
110 min. /2018

Filmmaker's words:
This is the 8th film in my documentary series "47 km."
An 85-year-old man sits under Mao Zedong's portrait and, as the sun sets, recalls his revolutionary history in pursuit of "New China."
Meanwhile, a 15-year-old girl named Fanghong walks through the village with her paintbrush, knocking on the doors of elders' dark rooms, sitting before them to draw their portraits. She's like a ray of light illuminating their memories and ruins. I followed Fanghong, and together we built a window for 47 km village.

Zhang Mengqi was born in 1987. She graduated from the Dance Academy of Minzu University of China in 2008. Since 2009, she has been a resident artist at Caochangdi Workstation as a filmmaker and a choreography. She has created documentary films: Self-portrait with Three Women (2010, Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival), Self-Portrait: At 47KM (2011, Cinéma du réel; CPH:DOX), Self-portrait: Dancing at 47KM (2012, Cinéma du réel; CPH:DOX), Self-portrait: Dreaming at 47KM (2013), Self-portrait: Building a bridge at 47KM (2014, Beijing Independent Film Festival), Self-portrait: Dying at 47KM (2015, Taiwan international documentary film festival), Self Portrait: Birth in 47 KM (2016, Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival), Self Portrait: Sphinx in 47 KM, which 9 films complete her own “self-portrait series”.


5:30pm - 2. Dumb Men
Directed, edited by Hu Tao
86 min. /2018

Filmmaker’s words:
People in my hometown call those who are shy and untalkative “touxiuzi”. Within my family, the touxiuzi gene is embodied in the members of there generations.as a touxiuzi in our family,I try to uncover an open up the real heart beating under our our touxiuzi exterior,yet in the end I only open up myself. The touxiuzi in the family continue to circle in the air above the village and grow in the village's soil.

The film screened in :
Taiwan International Documentary Film Festival (TIDF), 2017

Hu Tao was born in 1993 and graduated from the film and television photography in Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts, has completed films: Mountain (2013), Village Legend (2015), Dumb Men (2017).


8:15pm - 3. Autobiography Ⅱ: Struggles
Directed, edited by Wu Wenguang
Photographed by Wu Wenguang, Zhang Mengqi
Length: 65 minutes
Production: 2018

About the film
This film is the second segment of my “Autobiography Series.” From the moment when my mother disclosed a long kept secret, my birth was accompanied by many struggles for my mother. Those “struggles” include: during pregnancy, “should this child be kept,” to the painful struggles in the delivery process. Struggles have also accompanied since I was born, becoming part of my life.

Wu Wenguang was born in south-western China’s Yunnan province in 1956. After graduating from high school in 1974, Wu was send to the countryside, where he worked as farmer for four year. Between 1978 and 1982, he studied Chinese Literature in Yunnan University. After the University, Wu worked as a teach at a junior high school for three years, and later, he worked in the television as a journalist for four years. Wu left the television, moved to Beijing in 1988 to be an independent documentary filmmaker, freelance writer and creator and producer of dance/theater. Wu has completed documentaries, which like Bumming in Beijing: the Last Dreamers (1990), 1966, My Time in the Red Guards (1993), At Home in the World (1995), Jiang Hu: Life on the Road (1999), Dance with Farm Workers (2001), You are Called Outlander (2003), Fuck Cinema (2005), Bare Your Staff (2010), Treating (2010), Investigating My Father (2016). Wu has filmed his “Autobiography series” and has completed 3 films.

Since 2005, Wu found two main projects: Village Documentary Project and Folk Memory Project.


About The Memory Project
Wu Wenguang, a foundation figure for Chinese independent documentary film, launched The Memory Project in 2010 to document the gathering of oral histories from the rural survivors of China’s Great Famine (1958-1961). Wu and two of his collaborators will be on campus for three nights of film screenings and one night of performance.

Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies