Sunrise Over Tiananmen Square

Directed by Shui-Bo Wang

29 minutes / Color
Release: 1999
Copyright: 1998

This nominee for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short explores artist/ filmmaker Shui-Bo Wang's past as a Red Guard during the Cultural Revolution, his stint in the military as a propaganda poster artist, and his teaching experiences in the 1980s, through a rich collage of original artwork, animation, and archival and family photographs.

A committed member of the Communist Party throughout, it was not until he was exposed to rural poverty and illiteracy in the mid-80s that he began to question the Revolution.

film still

Colliding icons, such as Mao and Coca-Cola, Tiananmen Square and the Statue of Library, evoke contradictory ideological symbols that have haunted China for years. SUNRISE OVER TIANANMEN SQUARE is Shui-Bo's thoughtful attempt to sort through ideology and arrive at his own truth.

"Profoundly Moving! A beautiful, honest, eulogistic tribute. Highly Recommended!"- Educational Media Reviews Online

"[Shui-Bo's] skillful pastiche of still photos, animation, and his own wonderful drawings, paintings, and propaganda poster art trace a history as powerful as the rise and crest of communism."- National Post

"Editor's Choice! Starred Review! A striking blend of autobiography, history and politics... Dynamic!"- Booklist

"A visually arresting and entertaining viewing experience [and] effective, imaginative autobiographical piece that also illuminates the lure of the idealistic promise of China's vision and the reality of its shortcomings. Highly Recommended!"- Video Librarian

"Very compelling, both because of the topic and the way in which images - both photos and illustrations, some of which are animated - are captured on film. [The film is] fascinating for the way it talks about political ideology, dreams, and realities in a such a candid way."- Animation World

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Purchase DVD for $248.00


Shui-Bo Wang
A National Film Board of Canada Production

Select Accolades

  • 1998 Academy Award Nominee, Best Documentary Short
  • Best War and Peace Film, 1998 Vermont Film Festival
  • Golden Gate Award, 1999 San Francisco Film Festival
  • 1999 Seattle Human Rights Film Festival


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