The Founding of a Republic (建国大业)

For those who are into historical epics and the modern history of China...this is a new movie sponsored by the PRC Government on the founding of PRC. Call it propaganda if you want, it looks spectacular even then.

According to this review, the movie portrayed Chiang and KMT in a realistic manner rather than the traditional evil-doer one sees in other PRC propaganda movies. I hope to watch this movie some day.

The Founding of a Republic (建国大业) has been widely heralded as the Chinese Communist Party's star-studded cinematic present for itself to celebrate the 60th anniversary of its founding of the People's Republic of China. It debuted this past Thursday, and I saw it yesterday.

The big question on many people's minds is: Is this movie going to be a massive propaganda pieceabout the evil Nationalists (KMT) and a whitewashed version of the Communist Party of China (CPC, aka CCP)?

Actually, that question may be more prominent amongst foreigners and expats than Chinese. "Oh brother, there he goes again", the peanut gallery groans. Come now, it's true, and it's true because — believe it or not — many Chinese already expect the film to be propaganda. They're keenly aware of the circumstances surrounding it and the bigger question for them is: How many stars can they spot and identify?

Oh look, here's a poster of some of those 172 celebrities!

Apparently there are 172 celebrities involved. Oh look, here's a poster with some them!

Propaganda Propaganda

But, going back to the question of greater import to my target audience, I'm happy to report that while a few events were portrayed in a noticeably skewed manner, there's thankfully few — if any — obvious to outrageous rewritings of history (excusing dramatic artistic license). In fact, the movie was far more gracious in their handling of Chiang Kai-Shek and the KMT Nationalists than I expected. (Of course, this was because I feared the worst from this movie, and now I probably owe the CCP responsible for this movie a measure of respect for, well, not living up to my fears.) Unlike so many lesser PRC produced films and television shows set in the Chinese Civil War era, Chiang Kai-Shek and the KMT were not grossly vilified here. They were portrayed, I think, rather respectfully as multi-faceted humans with their human greatness, human flaws, and human mistakes.

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