Jian guo da ye (The Founding of a Republic) (2009)
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Audience Reviews for Jian guo da ye (The Founding of a Republic)
I recently saw this movie on DVD. While somewhat faithful to the outline of Chinese history, the movie was in-house. (A Chinese audience would follow it better) It referred to many individuals and places that most Americans wouldn't be familiar with. That wouldn't be such a problem except you really must pause the DVD to read the subtitles because the text flies by too fast. Additionally, the portrayal of Chiang Kai-shek was far too forgiving. It is pretty hard to be too harsh on Chiang, who was known as Chiang who sold the country. While the movie is not blatantly wrong, the flavor of the times was wrong, the devotion to Mao can only be understood in the context of the unspeakably vicious repression of all progressive elements of society during that period and the incredibly poverty of the people combined with the disparity between rich and poor. Only Mao's section of the party advanced a realistic, but controversial plan for social transformation. That controversy was absent in the movie. Additionally the politics of the Chinese Communist Party during that period was really glossed over. There was a strong women's movement in China during that period supported by the CCP, the land reform was incredible, the labor struggles intense and the CCP was the only force fighting the Japanese in a consistent effective way in the country. The people's liberation army was democratic in a way that puts to shame most modern armies. The movie did deal with the witches brew of politics during that period to some degree, but no where near what it actually was, but at least it was a significant effort. The movie seems to be a convenient creation that serves the current regime, which is communist in name only. The gutting of the politics is necessary because to remind people of what Mao was fighting for could fuel opposition to the current regime. Reminding people of the poverty and disparities in China in the 1930s-40s would also be inconvenient because of the incredible disparities today. Quite a lot of opposition exists in today's china to the ruthless economic exploitation that many workers serving multinational corporations endure. There are many wild cat strikes. If the workers put 2 and 2 together they might try to replicate what Mao was striving for. I'd recommend reading an account of the period before the movie unless you know a lot about the period. "Red Star over China" is great. The portrayal of Mao is both larger than life and a bit jaded. Yes it sounds contradictory, but at times he seems manipulative in a bad way. Mao wasn't a saint, nor a villian, he cared deeply for the Chinese people, and fought for them. That makes him a real hero along side the millions who worked and fought with him for the new China. Study the topic, but don't expect too much from this movie. It has excellent photography but weak politics and history. It seemed like it had a cast of thousands for the battle field scenes.
I love Chinese history but this is BORING. It looks more like the Battle of Google vs. Yahoo. Big stars like Jet Li look way out of place here. Stay away.
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