There has never been a movie quite like Jiangguo Daye. The blockbuster features nearly 200 of China's top movie stars, including action heroes Jackie Chan and Jet Li plus a host of directors, comedy stars and even journalists. There is Zhang Ziyi of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Stephen Chow of Kung Fu Hustle, and Hong Kong heartthrob Andy Lau. Imagine a Hollywood film featuring the entire celebrity audience at the Oscars and you get the idea.
But The Founding of a Republic – the title in English – is not just an A-list extravaganza. It is a stirring propaganda epic, a tale of how 60 years ago, when Chairman Mao's scruffy band of revolutionary warriors overcame Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Kuomintang in the civil war to establish the world's most enduring Communist revolution.
Actually, we believe the vast majority of Hollywood is stung by not being requested to participate in this grand undertaking.
We don't know the ideological slant of The Independent (U.K.) to which this article is linked but one can make some general assumptions when "stirring propaganda epic" is used without a hint of irony.
Color us disappointed, though, that actors like Jet Li and Jackie Chan who made their fortunes in the West and have enjoyed the liberties and freedoms of this country would return to China to participate in this bit of Chi-comm self-gratification.
P.S. No word on whether Michael Bay is available to direct The Great Leap Forward: a glorious ode to the people's famine and pig iron.