Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Founding of a Republic (2009) [建國大業]

I don't know quite what possessed me, but I did take out a copy of "The Founding of a Republic [建國大業]" and managed to watch it from start to finish. When I read about this movie coming out, I was slightly intrigued by two possible points of interest. First is a casts consisting of some of the biggest Mandarin and Cantonese stars in the past decade (non-Taiwanese of course). But you do have the likes of Jet Li and Jackie Chan in the film. The second is a pure academic interest to see how much spin and propaganda this film would actually have since it was made to commemorate the formation of the Communist Government in Mainland China.

The cast was quite disappointing to say the least. Jet Lit and Jackie Chan probably had a combined screen time of about 5 minutes. The rest of the cast were vaguely interesting because they did manage to find some actors who really look like the people they played. But I'm sure that is not very hard to do in a population of over 1 billion people.

I was not entirely sure what the movie was trying to say. I think they did have some kind of communist agenda to start with, but it was gradually toned down to a point when the movie no longer made any sense at all. It kept jumping from one side to the other. At some point it felt like I was being chucked into the movie, along with separate themes and story lines, into a gigantic blender. I actually felt sick watching it. And I still have no idea what the movie was trying to say, nor did I learn any historical knowledge from it.

What a completely pointless endeavour. It wasn't propaganda, it wasn't even slightly watchable... What a complete disaster for a film. And here we come upon the problem with the Chinese people. There is a serious lack of creativity, something which seems to have been lost many centuries ago. The Chinese people are good at taking something that is established and making something that match up to it, but never exceed the establishment. And I'm not talking about size. Making something bigger does not mean it's better (e.g. the Three Gorges Dam, not better, just huge; the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony, lots and lots of people, huge spectacle, not better than the arrow fired into the cauldron in Barcelon '92).

It's a pity... Really. But I tend not to expect anything out of a media system completely controlled by the government. It's not good for human evolution.

Image source: China Film Group

No comments: