Film, Free

Jiabiangou Elegy: Life and Death of the Rightists

Sunday, Jan 20, 2019

10 a.m.

Phyllis Wattis Theater, Floor 1

Jiabiangou Elegy recounts the persecution of inmates at the Jiabiangou labor camp in Jiuquan, Gansu province, and examines the way the victims’ final affairs were handled. During the Anti-Rightist Campaign of 1957–59, more than three thousand people were sent to Jiabiangou for re-education through labor. These people were labeled rightists, counterrevolutionaries, and anti-party dissidents. Over a three-year period, more than two thousand died from abuse and hunger; only a few hundred were rescued in the end. The film includes interviews with the few remaining Jiabiangou survivors and their children, and presents the conflict between the preservation and destruction of memory.

Perhaps what I have done is tell future generations that those people now reduced to bleached bones beneath the sand once lived, once loved, once struggled, and were killed. They were fathers and brothers, sons and daughters, lovers, ordinary people, and elite intellectuals. They have never been compensated for their suffering, and their corpses have been cast away and forgotten.
–Ai Xiaoming, director

Ai Xiaoming applies her unique observational approach to the exploration of a terrifying chapter of recent Chinese social history that has long been concealed. She relates this history from multiple perspectives while engaging in a difficult documentation of the truth of the matter in the present day.
–Ai Weiwei

Film Details

Language: Mandarin with Chinese and English subtitles
Year: 2015
Running time: 409 min
Director: Ai Xiaoming 艾晓明

Films and schedules may be subject to change.