The leading actors in the movie were Zhong Qiu, Wang Ying and Wang Jia. This movie won the Golden Rooster Award for best supporting actor and was nominated in 6 other categories. The story centers around a boy of 13, named Wang Ruir and his memories during the Long March. The movie shows the travels of the Red Army, the loss of his father, sister and brother-in-law during the saga. The movie depicts the relationship between Wang Ruir and military leader, Mao Zedong who is credited with saving the young boy’s life and guiding him tenderly throughout Wang Ruir’s journey into his teenage years.
The film is a memoir of Wang Ruir’s and China’s losses during these turbulent times in the country’s history and the perseverance of the Chinese people. Since this movie was intended to commensurate the 70th anniversary of the Long March, many figures, settings and conflicts were based on the true history of China. According to Encyclopedia Britannica the migration of the soldiers was historically correct as the “communist troops crossed 18 mountain ranges and 24 rivers to reach the northwestern province of Shaanxi”.
In addition, the troops were depicted in a very heroic manner which in turn, inspired many young Chinese to join the Communist Party. The movie is set to occur in the 1930s, and the Long March resulted in the move of the communist revolutionary headquarters from southeastern to northwestern China. The geography of the region was filmed very accurately by the director, who followed the real path of the Long March, hence, it contained the real mountains, rivers, and valleys.
The costumes were designed fairly authentically using a lot of gray colors and simple designs for the peasants and workers in order to truly show how they lived during this time period. The other props in the movie such as weapons, tools and the lack of heavy artillery depicted the setting in a very realistic manner. In addition, it portrayed the devastation of war on the land and depicted the human suffering in a very lifelike way. I found this film to be very intriguing and it kept my attention throughout the story. It was informative and taught me a lot about Chinese customs, sounds, its people, and their passion for the Great Leader.
I consider this a great introduction into China’s recent history. While this film was fairly historically correct and provided many facts, there were also certain obvious embellishments. I felt that the tender relationship between Wang Ruir and Mao Zedong was at times comical. While I don’t doubt that Mao Zedong was very capable of mentoring a young soldier, he has been portrayed in history as stern and serious; hence his combing of young Wang Ruir’s hair with his fingers, as well as their long conversations seemed a bit too much.
Not having grown up in Communism, hearing the army songs and dances in the middle of fighting was hard to reconcile. I found that the director was very pro Red Army and Mao Zedong but the propaganda didn’t ruin the film for me. In addition, the movie showed the heartache and loss of family members during war transcends borders, cultures and politics. References Long March. (2010). In Encyclop? dia Britannica. Retrieved July 10, 2010, from Encyclop? dia Britannica Online: http://www. britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/347303/Long-March