China in Revolution

China in Revolution 1911–1949 explores the turbulent years prior to the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949. This ground breaking documentary is the first to examine this complex historical era through interviews with people who experienced it.

The film, which combines rare archival footage with location segments filmed in China and Taiwan, was first broadcast on PBS just after the Tiananmen Square tragedy of 1989.

China in Revolution begins Ambrica Productions’ epic series on the history of 20th century China.

Press Reviews

“The film provides exactly the sort of long-range socio-political context that Western news organizations seldom bring to breaking events. Moreover, it does so with a visual integrity that is simply stunning… If this film serves no other purpose, it reminds us that the Tiananmen Square rebellion has a much longer history — and a far deeper context — than a few days in June 1989. No one ‘lost’ China, but this film helps re-find her.”
The Boston Globe

“What is remarkable about this documentary film is not only that it contains rare footage chronicling those turbulent years, but also that the archival footage is enlivened by the film-makers’ interviews with people – both on the mainland and on Taiwan – who either witnessed the happenings shown on the screen or were themselves participants in the historic events that changed China for better or for worse. The recounting of their personal experiences brings history closer to the audience and provides authentic details in a breathtaking panorama.”
The Asian Wall Street Journal


A film by Ambrica Productions, Inc. in association with WGBH Boston and Channel 4 Television, U.K.

Written and Directed by : Sue Williams
Co-Directed by : Kathryn Dietz
Produced by : Sue Williams and Kathryn Dietz
Editor : Howard Sharp
Composer : Tan Dun
Executive Producer for Ambrica Productions : Judith Vecchione

Major Funding provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Additional grants from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation,
New York Council for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.