The film “Mulberry Child,” the story of the persecution and survival of a family during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, will be shown at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 10, in Smith Hall at Old Main. After the documentary screening, the story’s main characters, Jian Ping and her daughter Lisa, will speak and answer questions.
North Central’s Cultural Events, Chinese language, and gender and women’s studies programs are event sponsors.
Jian Ping was born in China in 1960 during widespread famine caused by the economic disaster of Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward. Tens of millions starved to death in the years preceding the leader’s brutal and repressive Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) and his call to crush the “Four Olds.” Chaos became rampant as Mao empowered youth to revolution, threatening, humiliating, beating and killing anyone they chose to persecute.
This many-layered documentary saga begins in Chicago with a disconnect between Jian and her thoroughly American daughter Lisa and journeys into the heart of China for a personal history of one family’s trauma and eventual triumph over Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Through colorful reenactments, historical records and moving interviews, the director follows the trail of “Mulberry Child,” Jian’s published memoir of growing up amid the hardship and injustice, and traces daughter Lisa’s gradual understanding of the power of family love.
Click here to read Roger Ebert’s January 2012 review of the documentary.