Breaking with Old Ideas is a 1975 Chinese film directed by Li Wenhua. The film is one of the few that were produced during the Cultural Revolution. As a result of the political upheaval taking place, Breaking with Old Ideas's plot was heavily regulated under highly codified guidelines on story and characterization so that it would have a mass character, as opposed to an individual focused character, namely proletarian politics as opposed to bourgeois politics. The film draws inspiration from issues with schooling in China at the time, such as that there was too much study, and too little social practice.
In 1958, the Communist Party of China sends Long Guozheng (Guo Zhenqing), a graduate of the Counter-Japanese Military and Political University, to head the newly established Jiangxi Communist Labour University (today's Jiangxi Agricultural University). The school's more capitalist elements, aiming for high bourgeois academic standards, refuse to admit poorly-educated (according to bourgeois standards) peasants, but Long advocates the opposite: after all a Communist Labour University should only admit students from the working class! Long also begins innovative changes—to the dismay of many other staff—such as putting more emphasis on hard labor than classroom learning, switching courses to accommodate experiential learning, removing impractical sections from the curriculum, holding lessons in the field, and excusing students who miss exams to work for the commune. Later, a student Li Jinfeng (Wang Suya), whom Long considers an exemplary follower of the "educational revolution", faces expulsion and is put on trial. The masses come out in support of her and denounce those taking the capitalist line on education. Those in power taking the capitalist line decide to shut down the college as a result. In the end, the College is saved by the will of the peasants and a pronouncement from Chairman Mao himself.