Red art comes in multiple forms

By Zhou Wenting (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-06-09 07:45
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BEIJING - Songs are not the only form of art that comes in the color red.

Red art comes in multiple forms

A poster of the movie Beginning of the Great Revival is displayed in a cinema in Yichang, Hubei province on June 1. The film, made to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, will come to cinemas throughout the country on June 15. Liu Junfeng / for China Daily

Chinese movie stars gathered on Wednesday for the premier of the ambitious movie Beginning of the Great Revival, which depicts historical events that occurred between the 1911 revolution that overthrew imperial rule in China and the establishment of the Communist Party of China on July 1, 1921.

Featuring many of the most famous actors in the industry, Beginning of the Great Revival is among the 28 films that have been made recently in honor of the Party's 90th anniversary. All of them are to begin appearing on movie screens some time in mid-June.

Speaking at a news conference, the director of the film, Han Sanping, said his latest work is better than The Founding of a Republic, a 2009 movie marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

More than 100 Chinese movie stars agreed to forgo being paid for their work in the film, which depicts events that occurred between 1945, when the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression was raging, and the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. The movie made 420 million yuan ($64.76 million) at the box office.

China Film Group is now hoping for a repeat of that success. Han told media that he expects the ticket proceeds from the new movie to exceed 1 billion yuan.

Beyond the big screen, TV stations are planning to present their share of productions honoring the Party's anniversary.

Chongqing Satellite Channel early this year ceased showing commercials and soap operas. It is instead broadcasting more public welfare advertisements, shows featuring red songs and classic dramas.

"We aim to become a mainstream channel that is spreading advanced culture, and provide people with excellent food for thought," He Shizhong, a publicity officer of the municipal Party committee, told Chongqing Times.

In May, China Network Television (CNTV) and the official media website started soliciting videos that record communities singing red songs or performances of classic dramas in colleges. Such footage will be placed into a "red lens" video collection.

Sociologists said red culture is especially significant at a time when China is undergoing rapid social changes and the public is being exposed to more harmful influences.

"Red art stands in resistance to vulgar values, such as the lust for money," said Xia Xueluan, a sociology professor at Peking University.

"That said, red art requires ceaseless innovations to keep it abreast of modern tastes, so that the campaign will survive over the course of time."

Experts also said red art embodies many admirable revolutionary traditions and should serve as a guide to the public, rather than merely commemorate great deeds of the past.

"Red art tells us to dedicate ourselves to the nation and to make improvements constantly," said Zhou Xiaozheng, a professor of sociology at Renmin University of China. "It arouses the solidarity and the fighting spirit of the nation."