Jian guo da ye (The Founding of a Republic) Reviews
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 can't help thinking of my mother's family who were contemporary to the period when watching this film, how their fates were directed by interests of certain groups of people in politics and power struggles.
My grandparents left Wuhan, a city port by Yantze river, to take refuge with KMT in Chongching during the war with Japanese and early civil war, thanks to their business and personal connections with high-level KMT generals. Later, they were among the first group of business people having moved out of China to Hong Kong where my mother was born. Then they were lured back by a communist policy requesting businesses to take part in development of China after the communist had taken power. My grandmother was afraid of my grandpa's looking for concubines, she decided to take all the children and nannies with them, and it was the beginning of their nightmare being trapped and persecuted for dacades for being "capitalist."