8 August 2016 | tomofsweden
A Chollywood movie?
A Chinese film, financed by the government of China, about the formation of said republic. This is all out propaganda. What is interesting is that it's big budget, and it's on par with the many similar American propaganda films (from Hollywood). Stuff like Independence day, Black Hawk Down, Argo and so on.
The acting is perfect. It's a star studded cast. They got all the biggest Chinese stars to do this. And you can tell. Both Jackie Chan and Jet Li have minor supporting roles. Their stars aren't bright enough to crowd out the better talent. So that's saying a lot. Great dialogue, as well. Anyway, cool to see a film like this where USA is the villain. While I'm in no way pro-Chinese. I do like variety and shifts in perspective.
There's zero soul searching going on in this film. In this film Mao is the best guy ever. Truly loved and respected by all who know him. Although Chiang Kai Shek didn't actually kick a dog on screen... you just knew he did off camera. This is a bad man.
I'm a history buff. So I've read biographies about all these people. They didn't need to do it this way. The Chinese communist party (ou tin the real world) already declared Mao an incompetent leader, and purged all his "henchmen". They did that in the 70'ies. So there should be zero contemporary controversy, in China, to do an accurate portrayal of both Chiang Kai Shek and Mao. But they chose to do it this way instead. Which took me a bit out of the drama. It's fun when the American ambassador is shown as a coward who doesn't stick up for his friends. Again... just nice to see, for a change, a high quality film that doesn't endlessly repeat the Hollywood messages of America's perfection.
They do a quite good job dramatising, what essentially just is, a series of talks where a bunch of elderly men negotiate at various tables. There is a lot of smoking, and talking about smoking. I never figured out the symbolism of that. Or perhaps it just was historically accurate? The film does get a bit boring at times. There's a fun segment where Mao has taken sleeping pills but needs to get to safety in a bomb shelter. But he's high as a kite from the pills, and has no intention of cooperating with his handlers, who end up having to carry him by force on a stretcher (not a spoiler, since everybody who knows anything about history knows Mao survived).
They do show some of the fighting. But this isn't a war movie. This film is only about the, behind the scenes, negotiating that later led to what became the formation of the republic. It spends a lot of time explaining why and how each member of the first Central Committee was elected. Which might be more fun if I knew more about recent Chinese history. Most of these names mean nothing to me. But it's pretty clear the viewers are supposed to be impressed. Which is another thing I like about it. Just like American propaganda films, it's shot for a domestic audience. It's obvious that this is shot for a Chinese audience, and only a Chinese audience. So they don't bother explaining, lots of stuff, you just have to know. I've read a lot of history, so I could mostly follow it. But far from everything. I did a lot of pausing and looking up stuff on Wikipedia. I must admit that I liked that aspect of it. It adds to the immersion, somehow. Despite it's flaws I did learn a lot, which I think is what's most important when it comes to historical dramas.