China Film Group also released another star-studded propaganda film, “The Founding of a Republic,” in 2009 to mark the 60th anniversary of Communist rule in China.
While propaganda films were once considered boring and outdated fare, especially by youngsters, China Film Group has been able to reinvigorate the genre by injecting star power, and in the process lending credibility to its version of history. The Chinese-language film industry’s biggest stars have been happy to comply, eager to please film officials who hold sway over the country’s fast-growing theatrical market. A-listers like Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Lau had cameo appearances in “The Founding of a Republic,” which went on to make a whopping $62 million in China, helped by politically correct theater operators who flooded their properties with screenings.
China Film Group is eager to replicate that success with “Jian Dang Wei Ye.” Shot in locations across China, Paris and Moscow and set from 1911 to 1921, the film describes the “spectacular stories” of how Mao and his colleagues “gave everything for their country during turbulent times,” according to an official synopsis issued by Hong Kong publicists.
Cadillac is a sponsor of “Jian Dang Wei Ye,” raising American criticism of a partly U.S. government-funded company backing Chinese Communist propaganda. General Motors, which owns the Cadillac brand, was a beneficiary of the 2009 car industry bailouts.
China Film Group spokesman Jiang said Cadillac has a multiyear cooperation deal with the studio not limited to “Jian Dang Wei Ye.” He said the company has helped “publicize and promote” the movie but no Cadillac cars appear in the film. He declined to give the value of the deal.
General Motors said in a statement that the sponsorship was initiated by its Chinese joint venture and described it as “part of a strategic alignment with the film industry, similar to alliances made by other companies.”
AP Business Writer Elaine Kurtenbach in Shanghai contributed to this report.
Official website: http://gw.chinafilm.com/index.html