China is getting more and more westernised. The most populous country in the world is turning down the intensity towards films and outside influences. Last year the number of foreign films allowed to screen went up from 20 to 34 and the American/Chinese production of ‘Transformers 4: Age Of Extinction‘ is sure to quell the censorship trend even more.
It is said that the popularity of the dreamworks martial arts animation ‘Kung Fu Panda‘ within the republic has opened up a new world of film and animation, and the Chinese government are pouncing on it. They have announced a new animated film aimed at celebrating the nation’s former leader Chairman Mao Zedong.
“Children like to watch cartoons. The old and stereotypical style [of presenting leaders] can’t engage them any more. This is the 21st century,” said Lu Huasheng, art director at propaganda unit Qiushi’s film and TV centre. “We can’t be stuck in the old ways. We need to be innovative”
The acceptance of ‘When Mao Zedong was Young‘ was a shock to director Lei Junlin who thought the idea would be dismissed by the general office of the ruling communist party’s central committee. What would have once been thrown out is now selected as one of three films to celebrate the 120th anniversary of Mao’s birth.
The role of the film is to teach people about the founder of modern China. To explain that he was a normal man like any China man or woman watching. Producers sent 600 volunteers to Shaoshan in Hunan province where Mao grew up to find out about the real man, but they found it hard to distinguish between fact and fiction from the impressionable towns folk.