Legend of Tianyun Mountain
(Tian yun shan chuan qi)

Screening on Film
Directed by Xie Jin.
With Shi Jianlan, Wang Fuli, Shi Weijian.
China, 1980, 35mm, color, 127 min.
Mandarin with English subtitles.
Print source: China Film Museum

Xie Jin traces the vicissitudes of political upheaval in the People’s Republic from the 1950s to the end of the 1970s by mapping them onto the shifting relations between two friends from college and the man they both fall for. Rather than schematic allegory, Xie fashions a moving, intimate look at lives ruined by purges and ideological revision. Legend of Tianyun Mountain was among the first films to depict the injustices of the anti-Rightist campaign of the late 1950s, thus placing the Cultural Revolution in a historical context and commencing a practice of looking back at the past critically that would be taken up by the Fifth Generation filmmakers. This stance by Xie was brave but also practical, since it allowed him to separate himself from the now-disgraced Gang of Four with whom he had become identified.

Part of film series

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Xie Jin,
Before and After the Cultural Revolution