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“What power has this humble force...” wrote Rewi Alley of Chinese peasants.
From both ends and on each side of the Great Wall, Chinese people tell stories which span the revolution. As the most travelled European in China, Rewi Alley provides diverse insights into work, culture and events in China before and after the Revolution.
Sequences of Tai Chi, a Shanghai film studio, the Yangtse River, the Old Silk Road and the giant Sleeping Buddha , the remote Yumen oil fields, Mongolian horse herdsmen and wrestlers are linked by interviews with old peasant revolutionaries, a Yumen oil worker, and a silk filature worker; telling from within China some of the human events which chart the complex and radical changes which made the China of today.

“Gung Ho: Rewi Alley of China and The Humble Force were filmed during April, May and June 1979 on one of the most extensive trips undertaken in China by a foreign film crew in recent times. The crew accompanied Alley on a marathon 15,000 kilometres journey where Alley visited places where he lived and worked during the turbulent years of the Revolution including the distant areas of Mongolia and the Old Silk Road near the border of Tibet.”

“At 82, Rewi Alley is one of the last of the hundred percenters - a survivor from a small group of foreigners who have worked since the thirties for China’s revolution. Alley is perhaps the most knowledgeable foreigner in China - from the inside.”

- quotes from Documentation files

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Year 1979

Reference number F6687

Collection Film and Video Collection

Media type Moving Image

Place of Production NEW ZEALAND/AOTEAROA

Genre Television

Duration 0:50:00


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Credits Director: Geoff Steven
Producer: John Maynard
Script: Geoff Chapple
Script: Geoff Steven
Camera: Leon Narbey
Sound: Graham Morris
Mix: Brian Shennan
Editor: Annie Collins
Assistant Editor: Barbara Hardy
Commentary: Peter Vere-Jones
Laboratory: National Film Unit
Executive Producer: David H Fowler