Seeing a World Apart: Visual Reality in Michelangelo Antonioni’s Chung Kuo/Cina

This essay examines Michelangelo Antonioni’s Chung Kuo Cina (China) (1972), a documentary made in and about the People’s Republic of China during the height of the Cultural Revolution. Detailing the documentary’s controversial reception and analyzing Chung Kuo’s emphasis on visual reality in opposition to the PRC’s official socialist realism, I argue that Chung Kuo constituted a critical cross-cultural project, while providing a unique portrayal of quotidian life in Maoist China.

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