The movie “1921”, one of the most important tribute films in the Communist Party’s celebration of the centenary of the founding of the Party, seems to be on the verge of being spoiled by the private lives of the actors. The propaganda department not only has to delete the banned books for the leaders’ flirtatious and racy history, but is also busy placing a ban to maintain the young actors’ chaste image.
As a key project of the Ministry of Propaganda and the State Film Bureau, “1921” can be described as having the right roots: the producer is Shanghai Film Group, the strategic partners include Tencent Pictures and two agencies under Xinhua News Agency, and the director is Huang Jianxin, who directed “Founding of the State” and “Founding of the Party”. The movie, which has allegedly been in preparation for four years, opened in grand style on July 1, 2020 at the site of the First Congress of the Communist Party of China in Shanghai and is scheduled for a more grand release on July 1, 2021.
From the title, I don’t know what the difference is between it and “The Founding of the Party”, but it is certain that it is another “The Founding of the Party”. In terms of glorifying the history of the Chinese Communist Party, it will only be better than ever.
Needless to say, director Huang Jianxin selected his actors for their “face value” and “market value”, as well as their love and loyalty to the party, at least superficially. As expected, Chen Kun, Geng Le, Yuan Quan, Tong Dawei and other famous actors are on the list. The popular actor Zheng Shuang was listed among them, playing the revolutionary martyr Xiang Xiangyu. Then she was exposed to surrogacy and abandonment in January this year. The company’s first ever “1921” poster was released on March 8, but the actress did not appear as Xiang Guangyu.
The latest poster released on May 13 is even more troublesome. The latest poster released by the film company was found to be a side profile poster of young Mao Zedong, played by the idol boy group R1SE’s team member, Yan Shujia. The first child actor, Yan Xujia, is a good actor and actress, but some netizens have exposed that he has been in love, not only that, but also cheated on his wife during the relationship.
How can such an unchaste and unethical actor play the role of a great leader? It is said that Mao’s young fans strongly disagree and plan to “net violence” against him. A more serious question was raised by netizens: How could such a “bad artist” be involved in a major historical production and play a revolutionary leader? The company’s main goal is to provide the best possible service to its customers.
Zheng Shuang has already filmed the movie. Because of her “bad deeds”, the audience will see the great party history, Xiang Xiangyu martyr story will be deleted a lot. However, Mao Zedong’s scenes who dare to delete, how to delete? Temporary find actors to reshoot? Obviously too late. Besides, who can be sure that they have not fallen in love or even cheated on each other? The film production team fell into silence. The publicity department is busy deleting posts. It is said that all the articles about the boycott of 1921 have been deleted and the related discussions have been suppressed. However, some “Mao fans” did not back down and claimed that they would fight to the end.
The leader can do it, but the actor can’t?
These fans call Mao an “instructor”. In his youth, Mao was an elementary school history teacher – a great irony as the longtime leader of a political party that falsified history at will – and in his later years told the American writer Snow, “I have always been a teacher, and I am still a teacher. I’m still an instructor.” More importantly, the younger fans express the same beliefs as their fathers in a more grounded way: that Mao will always be their great teacher of life and revolution.
What’s puzzling is, didn’t Mao teach his fans how absurd it is to “not fall in love” with his rich experience in marriage? As for cheating, he is simply a rare example. There is a book called “Memoirs of Mao Zedong’s Personal Physician” by Li Zhisui, who was the head of Mao’s medical team and the first director of the People’s Liberation Army’s 305th Hospital. The book depicts Mao Zedong as indulging in sex, playing with women and having an extremely absurd private life. Needless to say, Mao fans will say that this forbidden book is a fabrication. Then, in the repeatedly retouched history of the CCP, Mao did not divorce Yang Kaihui, who was in jail for him, when he lived with He Zizhen in Jinggang Mountain; nor did he divorce He Zizhen, who served him carefully on the Long March, when he lived with Jiang Qing in Yan’an.
This shows that Mao has taught his fans at least one thing: historical truth is not important, a political party that cannot live without lies can claim to have the truth, and a “cheating king” can certainly become an icon of pure love. However, if that’s the case, why can’t they fictionalize the marriage history of an actor?
The fundamental reason is power. These fans, like the Red Guards back then, look righteous and revolutionary, but in fact they know very well that they do not have any power to demand and question the Great Leader, but they can pick on his portrayers. Therefore, I do not worry for the propaganda department that they will “revolutionize to the end” and cause trouble at the party’s centennial celebration.