"The continuing tiny miracle of the National Film Board is how informative, educational, insightful and art-driven projects like Shui-Bo Wang's animated half-hour documentary about growing up in China during the monumental upheavals of the '60s to '80s are made with so much love and skill."
John Griffin, MONTREAL GAZETTE
Sunrise Over Tiananmen Square is a visual autobiography of an artist who grew up in China during the historic upheavals of the '60s, '70s and '80s. Through a rich collage of original artwork and family and archival photographs, Shui-Bo Wang offers a personal perspective on the turbulent Cultural Revolution and the years that followed.
For most Westerners, Tiananmen Square is synonymous with the bloody massacre the Chinese government ordered in 1989 to quell students' pro-democracy demonstrations. For Shui-Bo Wang and others of his generation, Tiananmen Square was the central symbol of the New China - a society to be based on equality and cooperation.
This animated documentary artfully traces Shui-Bo's roots and his own life journey. A Red Guard during the Cultural Revolution, he also served in the military as a propaganda poster artist and went on to become an artist and teacher during the 1980s.
With deft strokes, he powerfully renders both the idealism and the intolerance of a revolutionary society. Colliding icons of Mao and Coca-Cola, Tiananmen Square and the Statue of Liberty underline the extraordinary power of symbols. Sunrise Over Tiananmen Square is the affecting testimony of an artist struggling to sort through ideology and arrive at truth.
Shui-Bo Wang was born in Jinan, in Shandong Province, China on September 11, 1960. He grew up during Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution, a time when citizens were taught to sacrifice all for the creation of a new society.
As a propaganda artist for the People's Liberation Army in the late '70s, Shui-Bo's artwork embodied the vigorous lines of social realism. For him, there were no shades of grey; the great leader had all the answers. Brimming with youthful idealism, Shui-Bo joined the Communist Party in 1980, at the age of 19.
In 1985, Shui-Bo joined thousands of new university graduates sent to rural areas to train local teachers and improve education standards. He was shocked by the extreme poverty and illiteracy among the peasants. For the first time, he began to question the effectiveness of Communism.
29 minutes, 25 seconds
Order number: National Film Board #C9198 030/E9915