Zhang Xianchi was born in the 1930s into a family of supporters of the Kuomintang, the nationalist party of China and adversary of the Communist party under Mao Zedong. In his youth, he became a “leftist progressive” and a Communist party supporter. After the founding of the People’s Republic, he was seen as a dissident on the right of the party and a counter-revolutionary, was arrested in 1957 as an enemy of the people and then spent decades of imprisonment in labour camps. The film interweaves interviews conducted with Zhang Xianchi after his release with fictional theatrical restagings of his memories, creating a biography stretching over 30 years and covering the political upheavals of modern China.
Qui Jiongjiong (*1977) began his creative career as a painter before presenting his first feature film Moon Palace in 2006. His subsequent films became a regular feature of both independent film festivals in China and internationally. Chi is his fifth full-length feature.