Breaking With Old Ideas is a Chinese film from 1975 about revolutionizing education in the countryside and trasforming in a fundamental way the way people relate to nature, to society as a whole, and to each other. This revolutionary film is now available for free viewing.
For studying Marxist-Leninist theory, this would be a wonderful film to watch along with such readings as Mao Zedong’s essays, “On Practice“, “Reform Our Study“, “Some Questions Concerning Methods of Leadership“, and “On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People“.
There is a lot of stuff in this movie to talk about. This movie was made so as to make such things as the Marxist theory of knowledge, the Mass Line, the concept of “red and expert”, the concept of two-line struggle and continuing the revolution under socialism accessable to the broad masses of the people taking part in the revolution. We see in this film how contradictions sharpen under the dictatorship of the proletariat, and how class struggle not only continues, but deepens, under socialism. Breaking With Old Ideas is a movie about teaching and it is a movie for teaching. It is a film that interestingly and boldly tries to demonstrate and explain a Maoist pedagogy, and it does this very much in the style of the late period of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) when it was made. This film also shows a lot of the dynamic historical context that can sometimes be overlooked, giving one a small glimpse of what socialist construction can look like. It is also interesting to see the relationship between the Great Leap Forward (depicted in the film) and the GPCR during which the film was made.
A question that we should ask ourselves, and that we should keep in mind when watching this movie, would be what can we, as workers, as Communists, and as revolutionaries, learn from a film like this?