Revolting against the Cultural Revolution was severely punishable in Mao’s China. But a few months after Mao’s death in 1976, a brief window of freedom offered some Chinese citizens the chance to demand accountability for the oppression they suffered. Known as the ‘Beijing Spring’, this period gave rise to a new generation of artists and activists, who dared to use art and free speech to express their discontent with the past and their hopes for the future.
Filmmaker Chi Xiaoning captured the bravery and creativity of these young people on 16mm film. His documentary tells the story of this short-lived yet remarkable movement, and how it was violently extinguished by the regime. Through never-before-seen footage, the documentary reveals the ingenuity, defiance, and sacrifice of a group of artists and activists who risked everything they had in the name of their art, their principles, and their country.