Thursday, September 17, 2009

Building a Fan Base

Yesterday was the debut of 建国大业 (Jianguo Daye), or The Founding of a Republic, an epic film just in time for the People's Republic of China's 60th birthday party.
 
The star-studded flick that is part historical and part fantasy, is filled some 170 famous artists, all clamouring to have a part -- any part -- in the 30 million RMB ($4.39 million) film.
 
There's everyone from Jackie Chan and Zhang Ziyi to Andy Lau and Jet Li, and director Chen Kaige helping to depict Chinese history from 1945 to 1949.
 
"Many superstars applied for the roles without payment. They competed to get a part, whether it was a leading character or a supporting character," explained director Han Sanping, who is also chairman of the board of China Film Group Corporation.
 
In other words, this is a government-sponsored flick that wants to spread the good works of the PRC.
 
The movie garnered a lot of attention well before it came out, especially after Han announced the star line-up.
 
Many members of the public were outraged that some of the stars in the patriotic movie technically were not Chinese citizens anymore, like Jet Li and Gong Li, who have American and Singaporean residency respectively.
 
While some actors and actresses tried to defend themselves saying that regardless of what passport they were holding they were still Chinese, some people, mostly Internet users, were not impressed and continued to denounce them as unpatriotic and therefore were unqualified to be in the movie.
 
However, now that the film has been released, many who saw it were particularly gripped by the story rather than who was in it.
 
"At the beginning, it was the all-star cast that attracted many young viewers, yet they told me yesterday after watching the movie that the story itself was more attractive then the stars," said Wang Li, a staff member of the Guangdong Provincial Film Company's public relations department.

Or so the publicity department wants us to believe...
 
The movie, along with several others with a patriotic theme, will be shown in the next few months and are practically guaranteed to be hits. This month Beijing issued 900,000 movie coupons for those films that can be used up to November.
 
Maybe with fans flooding the theatres to watch The Founding of a Republic, it will inspire more young people to become CPC members  -- a goal the CPC would like to surpass its current 76 million... You can never have enough Party members to consolidate the government's power base...

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gong Li is not in the movie

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

celebrity stars just love to show their faces in this epic as a sign of their allegiance to the motherland.

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