Chung Kuo（China）is far away
This is a documentary that pays homage to a master.
Throughout China’s shared history with Italy, even with Europe, only a few names are well remembered. Marco Polo, Matteo Rici, Giuseppe Gastiglione in the past and Michelangelo Antonioni today. Although the first three names are already buried in history, Antonioni is still alive within China’s cinematic record. We recorded a documentary named China is Far Away in remembrance of Antonioni.
Out of respect for this master of cinema, we produced this documentary over the past four years. More than 30 years later, we ransacked Antonioni’s colleagues and friends, talking about that period of history. At the meantime, we also searched China for the people and places he had ever shot, in order to recover the distant past.
Chung Kuo stands out among all of Antonioni's documentaries—so much so that it has become a world classic.
These achievements come from his culture, composure and comprehension.
The master Antonioni says, “First I respect and then I love China.”
Chung Kuo is a rational work. Antonioni, in 1972, just during the great proletarian cultural revolution, he came to China and made a film, , a 4 hour long documentary film, which caused a tremendous commotion and also had revolutionary consequence. Then, he also became the first westerner shooting the contemporary China.
During the few years we were doing the shooting, also Antonioni’s last few years, what is China like in his inner mind?
In his older years Antonioni has faded away from the sight of media and devoted himself to painting. His painting is surprisingly similar to traditional Chinese landscape painting. It represents his remembrance of Chinese mountains and reminds him of China. Upon returning to Rome, Antonioni's lifelong friend who staged a retrospective exhibition in China on behalf of Antoioni commented, “Now that I have been to China I understand his reference in the painting.”
In fact, China is another dreams of Antonioni's cinema world.
We recorded Antonioni with images that became extraordinarily rare after shooting was completed. Over the past years it was only we who documented Antonioni, while among world class masters Antonioni is the only one who documented China during that period of history.
Things have changed rapidly in China and become less important under current circumstances. The master is no longer a subject of conversation or respect, and has been replaced in the public's mentality by something else. Only a few remember the master's dreams that were once created for them.
The master approached us through a documentary, but Chung Kuo goes further and further from us.
DIRECTOR BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE:
RESUMEName: Haiping LiuBorn: August 6, 1966, Hunan, China
e-mail: newyorknewyork@ sina.comEducation: B.A.(first division)1999, Beijing Film AcademyExperience:
2006 Interview Ambassador of Italy in China Gabriele Menegatti
2005 The documentary film “Tourism of The Philippines”
The documentary film “Tourism of Latina-Italy”
Interview Michelangelo Antonioni, Carlo di Carlo and Luciano Tovoli2004 Interview The International Film Festival of Berlin, Cannes, Venice (CCTV)
Interview Michelangelo Antonioni and Bernardo Bertolucci2003 The documentary film of Discovery (CCTV)
Interview “The international Top Model Contest” in Germany
With “Chinese Film Festival ” in Australia and in New Zealand2002 The documentary film “Secret Files of Royal Palace”2001 The documentary film “Chinese Sweep through World”2000 The film “The River”
The documentary film “Support”1998-2000 The programs of art (CCTV)