So many brave young people are fighting for their liberty at the moment, in Ukraine, in Iran and now in China. There was a time of protest with a real possibility of hope that occurred in China in 1979. The Stars Art Movement entwined with the stirrings of the Democracy Movement. Because no one in China could write about it and no one else seemed to be trying, I decided to tell the story of those courageous Stars artists. I invented a fictional female artist called Little Winter but the background detail was thanks to the life experiences of the Stars themselves and most particularly of one of the founders, Qu Leilei. I interviewed him over 3 years. John Gittings was the Guardian Chief Correspondent and was in China at that time has endorsed its accuracy and the editor of the Madras Courier, Shrenik Rao says Brushstrokes in Time is a brilliant compelling read. In the History of Now, Simon Sharma looks at the role of artists and writers.
He talked to Ai Weiwei, whose career began with the Stars, and whom you can see in the trailer to Beijing Spring. You hear the voice of Qu Leilei but don’t see him in the trailer. In many ways he is the hero of the film. I give the background in this short feature.
Trailer link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfRCHgk2YR8
We can admire from a distance but I hope that Brushstrokes in Time can make you feel what it is like to be there and to understand China better.