In 1971, the RAI offered Michelangelo Antonioni the chance of making a documentary film on China, with an invitation from the Chinese authorities. China, still in the midst of its Cultural Revolution, was showing some signs of opening up. Three months after Richard Nixon’s visit in February 1972, Antonioni went out there with a light crew to follow an itinerary he had planned based on his readings, but which was refused by the Chinese authorities. They granted him only twenty-two days of shooting and limited his visit to Beijing, the Great Wall, Henan Province, Suzhou, Nanjing and Shanghai. Chung Kao/China is the splendid result of this compromise and of the frustrated view of a filmmaker who was renewing ties with the documentary.