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1911 Revolution (starring Jackie Chan)

Old 09-23-11, 07:09 AM
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1911 Revolution (starring Jackie Chan)



First Little Big Soldier (well, technically Xuxia was first) and now this. I'm liking this career path Jackie Chan is taking.
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Old 09-23-11, 12:02 PM
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Re: 1911 Revolution (starring Jackie Chan)

At a time when Red China is jailing thousands of dissidents and artists, many for simple expressions of criticism of the governent on their blog, and even executing some of them, and at a time when Red China is cracking down on Uighurs, Mongolians, Tibetans and other non-Han ethnic groups in regions taken over by China, those of us who support freedom and democracy should not be endorsing works of Communist propaganda like this film and other Chinese epics of recent vintage. (Yes, I'm talking about you, DETECTIVE DEE.) And Hong Kong filmmakers/stars who remember when HK was a democracy, like Jackie Chan, Andy Lau and Tsui Hark, should not be participating in the Communist propaganda machine. They should be speaking out on behalf of jailed writers and artists in China. Don't support these works. It's like supporting Nazi filmmaking before we entered WWII.
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Old 09-23-11, 12:26 PM
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Re: 1911 Revolution (starring Jackie Chan)

Communist propaganda?
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Old 09-23-11, 01:10 PM
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Re: 1911 Revolution (starring Jackie Chan)

Originally Posted by Tarantino View Post
Communist propaganda?
Actually, it's true. Stuff like this and The Beginning of the Great Revival are propaganda films. Ones with huge budgets and (possibly - I didn't see them) very well made. There was even some coverage of it in the US as GM either sponsored or paid for some of Revival; GM was partially owned by the US Gov't at that point.

Revival is actually a glaringly obvious piece of propaganda. Not only was it the only movie released in mainland China during that time (other films were still playing), but until it grossed enough in theaters, the Chinese government wouldn't allow any other film to be released. With Transformers: Dark of the Moon around the corner, this was a credible, and painful, threat.

A lot of the box office revenue was made from companies, organizations, and schools buying giant blocks of tickets. Transformers was not delayed by much, if at all.

In a way this helped movies like Fast Five, which were released just prior to Great Revival and therefore enjoyed a very, very long run in theaters. At the theater near where I worked, Fast Five was playing for over three months.
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Old 09-23-11, 05:39 PM
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Re: 1911 Revolution (starring Jackie Chan)

Hmmm...I don't know. There are certain aspects of Chinese history that are kind of non-partisan for Chinese filmmakers, whether you're talking mainland Communists today or Taiwanese Nationalists in the 70s (I'm thinking of Chang Cheh movies like 7 Man Army, Naval Commandos, Boxer Rebellion, etc). Both sides largely reviled the Qing dynasty that was overthrown in 1911, both sides resented the foreign powers having military sway in China at the turn of the century, both sides fought the Japanese in WWII. I know in the recent Bodyguards and Assassins, the story was about protecting Sun Yat Sen, who was considered one of the fathers of the revolution by both the Communists and the Nationalists. I don't hold that promoting nationalism or patriotism in and of itself in these types of stories is necessarily Communist propaganda.

But, I do agree that it's disturbing that a totalitarian, repressive government has so much control over putting out glossy, well made movies like these, and they're certainly aware of what messages they're sending, and what ones they're repressing. Also, what you're not seeing too much of is the more subversive, self-critical themes like you see in a lot of Japanese samurai pics of the 60s.
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Old 09-24-11, 03:27 AM
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Re: 1911 Revolution (starring Jackie Chan)

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum View Post
those of us who support freedom and democracy should be endorsing works of Communist propaganda like this film.


Kim Jong Il likes this. [IMG]http://www.************.com/like.JPG[/IMG]
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Old 09-24-11, 10:35 AM
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Re: 1911 Revolution (starring Jackie Chan)

^
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Old 09-24-11, 10:37 AM
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Re: 1911 Revolution (starring Jackie Chan)

I was going to say it looks good but now I feel guilty. Thanks a lot guys!
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Old 09-24-11, 10:45 AM
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Re: 1911 Revolution (starring Jackie Chan)

Even though I KNOW these are propaganda films...I wonder though if they're actually good films. And well...some of those mainland ones w/ big budgets are.

I wonder though how democratic or HK based actors feel about working in these things. Do they pay them enough that it just trumps everything else?

Also...WHAT exactly is the current relation status w/ HK and China?

EDIT: holy shit, Chan co-directed this? AND it's also his 100th film?
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Old 09-24-11, 11:55 AM
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Re: 1911 Revolution (starring Jackie Chan)

A lot of people in HK resent mainlanders but to be completely honest without hordes of people coming in every day to drop astounding amounts in all their high-end stores, restaurants, and real estate, Hong Kong would be in a ton of trouble.
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Old 09-24-11, 07:17 PM
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Re: 1911 Revolution (starring Jackie Chan)

I feel totally ignorant haha. So this and Detective Dee are propaganda films? How so?
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Old 09-25-11, 02:28 AM
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Re: 1911 Revolution (starring Jackie Chan)

Good post, Ash.
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Old 09-25-11, 02:50 AM
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Re: 1911 Revolution (starring Jackie Chan)

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum View Post
At a time when Red China is jailing thousands of dissidents and artists, many for simple expressions of criticism of the governent on their blog, and even executing some of them, and at a time when Red China is cracking down on Uighurs, Mongolians, Tibetans and other non-Han ethnic groups in regions taken over by China, those of us who support freedom and democracy should not be endorsing works of Communist propaganda like this film and other Chinese epics of recent vintage. (Yes, I'm talking about you, DETECTIVE DEE.) And Hong Kong filmmakers/stars who remember when HK was a democracy, like Jackie Chan, Andy Lau and Tsui Hark, should not be participating in the Communist propaganda machine. They should be speaking out on behalf of jailed writers and artists in China. Don't support these works. It's like supporting Nazi filmmaking before we entered WWII.
Communist propaganda? The Xinhai Revolution had nothing to do with Communism; the revolution was led by quasi-militaristic groups that resented Manchu misrule and wanted to restore ethnic Chinese sovereignty. After the Chinese Republic was declared under the presidency of Sun Yat-Sen, China collapsed into an ongoing civil war that lasted for 38 years, first of competing warlords, and then of the Kuomintang against the Communists.

The People's Republic of China AKA "Red China" was established in 1949-both the PRC and the ROC claim the 1911 revolution that toppled the Qing dynasty as the beginning of Chinese independence.

What most Americans who have never been to China and who can't speak or read Chinese is that Mao's China is gone--the contemporary Chinese Communist Party is Communist in name only. Modern-day China is similar to South Korea under Park Chung-Hee or Taiwan under Chiang Kai-Shek; a meld of brutal authoritarian rule mixed with unbridled capitalism. Does China need to democratize? Of course, but that is up to the Chinese people, not nosy 外国人.

And Hong Kong was never a democracy--Hong Kong island was a British colony from 1842 after the First Opium War (Kowloon was handed to Britain in 1860 and the New Territories in 1898) until the transfer of sovereignty back to the PRC in 1997. LegCo had limited freedom under British rule, who did not begin to establish any kind of democratic elections of members until just before the 1997 handover.

Last edited by Gobear; 09-25-11 at 03:20 AM.
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Old 09-25-11, 08:28 AM
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Re: 1911 Revolution (starring Jackie Chan)

Granted, I haven’t seen 1911 so maybe I’m being unfair in directing my rant at that film, although it seems to me that it’s part of a trend of the current regime in China rewriting its “national creation myth” to make itself look good via a wave of historical epics that use top Hong Kong filmmaking talent and stars with Chinese money or a public spectacle like the opening night of the Beijing Olympics in 2008 directed by once-banned filmmaker Zhang Yimou, likened by some to Leni Riefenstahl’s pro-Nazi TRIUMPH OF THE WILL. My main issue is with films like Zhang’s HERO (2002) and Tsui Hark’s DETECTIVE DEE AND THE MYSTERY OF THE PHANTOM FLAME (2010), which take the stand that cruel and oppressive rulers should be given a pass because they united the country and/or brought stability and prosperity to large numbers of the people. That message seems to be an apologia for the current Communist Party leadership, which has brought about an unprecedented economic boom in China which has benefited millions out of the country’s billion+ population.

The price of that economic boom, however, is the continued stranglehold on various freedoms, including that of speech, religion and the press and the suppression of ethnic groups such as the Uighurs in Western China and the Tibetans in their own country, Tibet. It means the tolerance of massive corruption in local governments and state industries around the country and the grabbing of land from farmers. It means the tolerance of widespread industrial waste and pollution and the release into the marketplace of all kinds of dangerous products. The 2008 earthquake in Sichuan caused thousands of deaths from the collapse of school buildings rushed into production with shoddy materials. Whenever the people try to hold their officials and industrialists accountable, the government’s response is to suppress reports of protests and try to buy off or silence the protestors. And whenever mere bloggers bring up these issues, the government cuts off access to their sites and, in many cases, arrests the bloggers. Journalists who cover these stories risk losing their jobs and getting arrested.

Somehow I doubt that things were ever this bad in South Korea and Taiwan when they were under martial law. And, given our trade relationship with China, I don’t think it’s particularly “nosy” when concerned Americans voice their outrage over ongoing human rights abuses in China. Especially when China has made demands on international film festivals in the U.S. and elsewhere to remove films about Tibet from their programs and then pulled Chinese films from those festivals, pressuring the filmmakers to take responsibility for those requests (as happened with CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH at a festival in California). I’m appalled that film festival directors haven’t banded together to boycott all festival entries from China in response.

I lost someone’s friendship when I called for the boycott of the Beijing Olympics on my blog back in 2008. This friend, a Malaysian woman of Chinese descent now living in Hong Kong (and, no, it isn’t Michelle Yeoh), and one of the very few readers of my blog, asked if it wasn’t hypocritical of me to take that stance when the U.S. was operating Guantanamo. I responded that there were thousands of Guantanamo-like prisons operating in China and I then asked if it was hypocritical of the U.S. to have opposed Japan in WWII when Japan occupied China, Malaya and Hong Kong even when it had Jim Crow laws in the south. She responded that that was so long ago that it was irrelevant, a position I simply can’t abide by. (And I daresay that most Chinese who remember Japan’s cruelty toward them in WWII don’t consider it irrelevant either.)

I appreciate the thoughtful responses to my original post and I respect Gobear for confronting my simplistic rant with facts. Yet I think he’s being a little too easy on the Communist Party leadership in China. I understand how complex this whole thing is and I acknowledge that there is much about it that I don’t understand. There is much to study here, esp. in terms of the Chinese people’s historical relationship with their rulers. I’m torn between wanting to boycott these films and wanting to see them to help me understand. I also gain hope when I read about protests in China and attempts by tech-savvy young people eager for information to get around obstacles placed in their path. Will the leadership eventually succumb to the people’s desire to know the things the government tries to keep from them? What is our role as interested foreign observers? Do we actively support the protestors or do we wait for things to implode on their own? This is an ongoing story…

P.S. [added a day later]: I asked a colleague of mine, an academic who's been to China many times and has interviewed filmmakers from all three Chinas (PRC, Taiwan and HK), about all this. He says the decision by HK filmmakers like Tsui Hark (DETECTIVE DEE), Benny Chan (SHAOLIN) and John Woo (RED CLIFF) to make films in China and cater to the wishes of the censors is "purely market driven." Which doesn't change my views at all.

Last edited by Ash Ketchum; 09-26-11 at 12:22 PM.
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