August 30, 2012

Han Sanping and Huang Jianxin, The Beginning of the Great Revival (2011). 

What's Good: Every scene is shot beautifully. There is very good acting.

What Isn't Good: This film has the subtlety of a sledge-hammer or a wrecking-ball coming through your living room wall. It announced as much in the opening titles with the statement "In Commemeration of the 90th anniversary of the Communist Party of China."

The original title for this was The Founding of a Party: It got retitled for international release (IMDB). The film was financed through the state-run China Film Group, a mouthpiece of the propaganda department.

What's Bad: A film green-lighted from the Ministry of Propaganda encouraging Chinese citizens to act out against foreign "colonialism" (disputed Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean islands, for example) with the call of "Chinese Sovereignty!" It's hard not to read this movie through a probable anticipated outcome, like (just for an example) the tearing off of the Japanese ambassador's car's flag while the ambassador was in it. Boil the hate, stir the hate, hate will manifest.

A narrative arc where Mao doesn't go to France while his friends are boarding to a much talked about and previously agreed upon better education because a foreign influence can't fix China (no international interference necessary, China can and will fix all its problems by itself).

What's Really Bad: The Chinese Communist Government is trying desperately to relate what's happening now in China with Mao's understanding of Marx and the populist impulse that started the CCP.