A film by Francisco Bello and Tim Sternberg
2015, 35 minutes
No. 038


For further information on this film, please visit the official site.

A beautiful, evocative documentary, Dreaming Against the World captures the life, work and struggle of one of the most original yet under-recognized artists of the 20th century – the writer and visual artist Mu Xin; and in doing so, offers a vivid account of art, and its survival, in turbulent times.

Born in 1927 to a wealthy family in the south China city of Wuzhen - Mu Xin was among the last generation to receive a classical education in the literati tradition. After the Communists came to power, Mu Xin, along with many other intellectuals and artists, was arrested and sentenced to hard labor.

But it was here that Mu Xin demonstrated his incredible resolve and commitment to the artistic vision. Risking execution, he began to write and paint, creating an astonishing body of work that merged East and West, the ancient and the modern, terror and transcendence.

Structured around intimate and revealing conversations with Mu Xin, as well as with renowned artist Chen Danqing (Mu Xin’s student when the elder artist lived in New York from 1982 to 2006), Dreaming Against the World is a rich documentary portrait.

* Official Selection, Telluride Film Festival
* Official Selection, DOCNYC Film Festival
* Screening, China Institute (May 21, 2016 - for more info: http://chineselectures.org/052116.html)

"Highly recommended. Concise enough to screen and discuss in a single class session, Dreaming Against the World is a winning choice for academic libraries supporting programs in the visual and literary arts, history and the social sciences; this eloquent and inspiring portrait of an artist determined to triumph over oppression deserves a place in public library collections as well."
- Educational Media Reviews Online