Irv Drasnin (above, left, who directed and narrates), Lucy Ostrander (center, right, who co-produced) and Don Sellers (center, left, who shot and edited the film). Theirs is one of those unusual movies that should appeal (and without a bit of special pleading or kowtowing) to both sides of the political spectrum.
What will please our Communist-hating right wing, of course, is the picture the movie paints of the enormous damage done to China and its people by Chairman Mao, whom Rittenberg calls both a great hero and a great criminal -- and then in the 90 minutes that follow shows us why. The story that this extremely bright and thoughtful fellow tells -- based on his book with Amanda Bennett, The Man Who Stayed Behind -- is eye-opening in so many ways about so many things that it becomes an immediate must-see for anyone interested in history, China or the human impulse toward bettering the world (while making one's own way in it).
By turns funny, shocking, moving, thoughtful and bone-deep sad, The Revolutionary won't change your mind about much. But it will open it up in a manner that few films previously have managed: making the personal indeed political and vice versa, while offering a view of China from the 1940s through 1980 that we have simply never before seen.
Quad Cinema in New York City and plays through April 18, with two screenings daily at 4 and 7:30pm. Filmmaker Drasner will appear at several screenings for a Q&A, and Rittenberg himself -- now age 95 -- will be available for a Q&A via Skype. Check here or here, closer to the day you'll attend, to learn specifics on these Q&As, and click here to see all currently scheduled further screenings of this film across the country.