Guo Xiaolu/2010/ 75 min

郭小橹/ 2010年/75分钟

Once Upon a Time Proletarian, from acclaimed director, novelist and poet Guo Xiaolou, presents a fascinating and often darkly humorous deconstruction of modern Chinese society through a series of interviews with people in different stations in life. The film is split into 12 chapters, each focusing on a different individual, revealing the hardships they face, and their views on modern Chinese society and the radical changes it has undergone since the days of Mao and the great revolution. Directed with real artistry and skilful storytelling by Guo Xiaolou, Once Upon a Time Proletarian is a creative and highly perceptive documentary which should appeal to viewers interested in the turmoil behind rapid modernisation in China, delving deeply into the hearts and minds of the Chinese people and going beyond the usual notions of Chinese reality.

Awards and Film Festivals Screenings

  • Audience Award First Prize, Chinese Visual Festival (London), 2012
  • International Film Festival Rotterdam, 2011
  • Venice Film Festival, 2009
  • Toronto Film Festival, 2009


About the Director

Xiaolu GUO was born in 1973 in China. At 19 she left her hometown and studied at Beijing Film Academy. After she received MA on cinema and literature, she’s worked as a filmmaker, poet and novelist. In 2009 she funded “Metaphysical Cinema Syndicate” in London and Beijing, producing guerrilla style films to promote a free cinema beyond narrative conventions.

Her films include UFO IN HER EYES (Toronto film festival 2011), SHE, A CHINESE (Locarno “Golden Leopard” award 2009, Pusan & Toronto), and “Grand Jury Prize” at Creteil Women Film Festival for HOW IS YOUR FISH TODAY(2007 Rotterdam). Her documentaries include ONCE UPON A TIME PROLETARIAN (Venice & Toronto official selection 2009), THE CONCRETE REVOLUTION and WE WENT TO WONDERLAND (MOMA 2008 ) etc.

Her several novels are being translated into 23 languages, among them, the notable ones are – A CONCISE CHINESE ENGLISH DICTIONARY FOR LOVERS (2007), LOVERS IN THE AGE OF INDIFFERENCE(2010), 20 FRAGMENTS OF A RAVENOUS YOUTH(2008).