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2012/06/11

Movie Trailer: "The Revolutionary" The Story of Sidney Rittenberg: The Most Important Foreigner in China Since Marco Polo

-Looks good, sad but good.


During China's Cultural Revolution, Sidney Rittenberg, an American citizen, became the most important foreigner in China since Marco Polo. Arriving as a GI interpreter at the end of World War II, he was the only American citizen to become a member of the Chinese Communist Party, and was an active participant in the Chinese communist revolution and its aftermath. An intimate of the Party's leadership, including Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, he gained prominence at the Broadcast Administration, one of the most important agencies of government. But in the convulsions of a giant country constantly reinventing itself, he twice ran afoul of the leadership, and served a total of 16 years in solitary confinement. He returned to the United States in 1980.

Rittenberg's story would be just a footnote of history, except for his exceptional intellect, uncompromising honesty, and engaging personality. Over a five-year period, award-winning former-CBS journalist and China specialist, Irv Drasnin, interviewed Rittenberg to produce a compelling, complex and unique understanding of the 20th century's biggest revolution. From Sid first meeting Mao in the caves of Yan'an, to his becoming famous and powerful during the Cultural Revolution, to his battling insanity in solitary, his journey and his profound insight illuminate a much greater history. Mao's rule over China included both extraordinary progress and complete chaos. As China rises in the world, it is important to understand this past. It's a history few Chinese are aware of, let alone many Americans, told by an American who was there.

Find out more at: http://revolutionarymovie.com/
http://youtu.be/vH9w34onSC8

“You missed it.”

That’s what Ben Bradlee tells Woodward and Bernstein after reading one of their early Watergate stories in “All the President’s Men,” and that’s what I thought leaving the world premiere of “The Revolutionary,” a documentary, locally produced, about 91-year-old local Sidney Rittenberg, who, as a high-ranking member of the Chinese Communist Party from 1946 to 1980, was once called “The most important foreigner in China since Marco Polo.”

Rittenberg was a labor lefty out of Charleston, South Carolina in the 1930s, when everyone in labor was a lefty, before the politics of resentment meant resenting those with less rather than more; and then, like everyone else, he was drafted after Pearl Harbor. Unlike everyone else, he was taught Chinese and sent to China. After the war, Chinese party leaders asked him to stay. “We need an engineer to help us build a bridge from the Chinese people to the American people,” they said. He asked to be a member of the party. He stayed. He felt content. “I’m doing what I should be doing,” he felt

Erik Lundegaard: Movie Review: The Revolutionary (2012)


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