Filming the Memory of the Great Famine–Wu Wenguang’s Folk Memory Project


 2pm to 6pm
 Room 434, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU

Reservation and Contact: Miriam Yang

[email protected] / tel: 2876 6910



Department of Comparative Literature

and French Centre for Research on Contemporary
China (CEFC)

Supported by

the ANR-RGC project New Approaches to the Mao Era (CEFC – HKU).


Wu WenguangZou XuepingLuo Bing, Zhang Mengqi


Esther Yau (HKU), Judith Pernin (CEFC), Sebastian Veg (CEFC/HKU)


Mandarin (and some English)


Wu Wenguang, a veteran of independent documentary in China, launched his Folk Memory Project in 2010. Since then, he and a group of young filmmakers in Caochangdi Workstation have been traveling to their home villages across China to find traces, through oral history interviews, of the memory of the Great Famine of 1959-1961. Through documentary films, oral history archives, and theatre performances, they have tried to locate and preserve another narrative of this historical period than the one recorded in history books.

There will be a film screening and Q&A session with the director and other members of Caochangdi Workstation. This will be followed by a panel discussion devoted to the question of unofficial memory, everyday history, documentary film activism, and the performance of memory.

Film Screening: 
Luo Village: Pitiless Earth and Sky
Directed, Photographed, edited by: Luo Bing
English subtitles translated by Xu Yaping; Proofing: Odette Scott
77 min. /2012
(Screened: China Independent Film Festival, Nanjing, China, 2012, Yunfest,
Kunming, 2013)
77分鐘/ 2012
2012:尤倫斯當代藝術中心; 2013年:雲之南影像展(昆明)
Filmmaker’s words:

This film is the sequel to my first one, “Luo Village: Me and Ren Dingqi” (Hong Kong Chinese Documentary Festival 2013). Its title “Pitiless Earth and Sky” comes from Ren Dingqi’s memoir.  He spent ten years on this memoir, documenting bone-deep experiences of Land Reform, The Great Leap Forward, the Three Years of Famine, and the Cultural Revolution… My film attempts a reading of his book to try to witness this history once more. At the same time, as I tried to open this memoir before his fellow villagers, I encountered all sorts of unexpected responses, and found myself  investigating the links between past and present and whether or not this village is still a “pitiless earth and sky.”

Director’s biography:
Luo Bing was born in 1986 and graduated from the China Fine Arts Academy in 2009. Since 2010, he has been a resident artist at CCD Workstation. His documentaries include Luo Village: Me and Ren Dingqi (2011), Luo Village: Pitiless Earth and Sky (2012) and Luojia Village: Farewell, Luojiang Bridge (2013).
羅兵,1986年出生,2009年畢業於中國美術學院,現在草場地駐站。 2010年參與民間記憶計劃,創作紀錄片《羅家屋:我和任定其》(2011),《羅家屋:天地無情》(2012)及《羅家屋:永別落江橋》(2013)。
Tentative schedule:
14:00  Presentation of Caochangdi Workstation and Folk Memory Project
Wu Wenguang, Zou Xueping, Luo Bing, Zhang Mengqi
14:30  Screening of Luo VIllage: Pitiless Earth and Sky by Luo Bing (2012, 82′)
16:00  Q&A and panel discussion

For other events organized in Hong Kong, see: http://www.hkindieff.hk/HK_Folk_Memory.html


Seats are limited. Please confirm your attendance.