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Sunday in Peking (1956)

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Hannah Klein
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Sunday in Peking (1956)

Sunday in Peking is a short travelogue by art-film director Chris Marker. In the 22 minutes of the film, Marker takes viewers on a lighthearted trip with him to Beijing. With voiceover narration, we see colorful scenes from street life in Beijing in Maoist China in the 1950s. These scenes include transportation, exercise, street and theater performance, school life and more. While the film is grounded in the time it was made, the voiceover narration makes reference to the evidence of ancient Chinese civilizations and traditions embedded within the visible cultural practices of the ordinary people we encounter. The scene where he visits a school and interacts with children could be useful in a classroom discussion where students were practicing comparing their own experience with that of another time/place.

It calls to mind the first grade standard:

1.4 Students compare and contrast everyday life in different times and places around the world and recognize that some aspects of people, places, and things change over time while others stay the same.

1. Examine the structure of schools and communities of the past