At Beijing’s Democracy Wall in 1978, the “Stars”, a group of self-taught artists (including a young Ai Weiwei) challenged propaganda by showing provocative new art that championed free expression, often exposing the inhumanity of the Cultural Revolution. Beijing Spring recounts the experiences of artists and activists who flourished in this brief period of reform, before crackdowns saw many imprisoned or exiled. Recording it all was a daring young filmmaker, Chi Xiaoning, whose astonishing, long-hidden 16mm film footage is revealed here for the first time in 40 years.

Also online on Leeds Film Player

Beijing Spring film poster