The story of Sidney Rittenberg, one of Mao Zedong’s “true believers” who joined the Chinese Communist Revolution instead of returning to his native Charleston, South Carolina after World War II, is about to be told as never before. Mark McDonald, writing for the International Herald Tribune’s Rendezvous blog, turns our attention to the documentary The Revolutionary, completed last year, which tells of Rittenberg’s 34 years in the People’s Republic of China.
Life for Li Dunbai, as Rittenberg is called here, has not always been peachy. Unlike American James J. Dresnok, who deserted to North Korea after the war, Rittenberg did two stints in jail, 16 total years, including much time in solitary confinement. “You’re alone but you’re not really alone,” Rittenberg says in the excerpt. “Because every day you’re sitting there with your own potential madness sitting across from you, watching, and you know it’s either you or him.”
Everything about the film looks fantastic. Check out the website for more info, including a couple of critical responses from longtime China experts. Youku video for those in China after the jump.