Once Upon a Time Proletarian Women

Xiaolu Guo
China, Great Britain 2009 | 76 Min. | DigiBeta, OmeU

Don’t worry about what has passed, look towards what is coming.” This far­east­ern proverb works as a mis­sion state­ment for Xiaolu Guo’s filmic kalei­do­scope. This is a mul­ti­fac­eted por­trait of post Marx­ist China. 12 chap­ters explore facets of Chi­nese social and polit­i­cal land­scape. Sto­ries of yearn­ing, loss and dreams unfold: an old peas­ant who has lost his land, a mil­lion­aire chat­ting with his mate in a stock exchange office, a young migrant who came to the city to wash cars, a weapon fac­to­ry worker who wishes Mao was still alive to save the coun­try, a suc­cess­ful hotel owner who prais­es the government’s lib­er­al econ­o­my poli­cies, and young kids whose dream is to become famous west­ern artists. Lead by metaphor­ic com­i­cal and absurd chil­dren sto­ries, each chap­ter con­veys themes of triv­ial real­i­ty, despaired heart, lone­some youth, and uncer­tain future. This film con­tem­plates a vast and com­plex soci­ety whose cit­i­zens are search­ing for new beliefs and iden­ti­ties after the country’s great rev­o­lu­tion­ary days, and demon­strates how the indi­vid­ual is con­flict­ing with his time and history.