Week 1 – Introduction
Hi everyone, this is my first blog post for my senior project and I will be introducing the background for my project and what I plan to do in the upcoming week.
For my project, I will be analyzing how different types of propaganda films, specifically Chinese ones, utilize emotion to incorporate the audience and further convey its narrative. Propaganda has been used across cultures, from the catholic church to World War I posters and figures like Uncle Sam. War propaganda has been the most common use of propaganda, using some figure or depiction to encourage the people to join in on the war effort. The goal of these is to establish unity across the people, to fuse into one to back the actions of the government.
In past research, it has been shown that in the older generation of propaganda films, generally from 1956-1962, before the cultural revolution, there are some common themes presented. These include the rejection of “feudalistic families” – households which hold large amounts of wealth and solely value wealth and power, the “liberation of youth” – urging the new generation to take control, and “anti-individualism”- as that will then produce the necessary cooperation and unity under the communist party. Other themes such as the evil depictions of “invaders” and the glorification of revolutionary figures remain heavily present in films to this day. It can be seen how the previous themes heavily influenced the cultural revolution and the goals of those revolutionizing.
Introduction To Project:
Though propaganda films have been used previously, the introduction of the internet and brand new opportunities for the CCP to regulate free speech and public opinion, some themes have shifted while others remained. For example, in the film The Battle at Lake Changjin, produced and commissioned by the government, soldiers are shown to fight and defeat American soldiers. Within weeks of its release, the film made over $633 million at the box office, surpassing the box office of Shang-Chi, released around the same time. With the release of this film being the same time as CCP’s 100th anniversary, the audience had become emotionally attached to the characters in the film, with people posting videos of themselves eating frozen potatoes and fried flour like the soldiers in the movie to social media. This demonstrates the successful portrayal of the soldiers within the film to produce such an emotional attachment between the audience and the silver screen and I hope to further analyze that in my project.
For the upcoming week, I will begin by reading sources which introduce the utilization of Chinese propaganda in general and I will also watch films such as The Battle at Lake Changjin which was released recently, and older films as well. I also hope to interview a film producer for her insight on China’s censorship within the film industry currently.
- BBC News. “Covid-19: China unveils rules to reduce online gaming among under-18s.” BBC News, BBC, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-58868854.
- Shambaugh, David. “China’s Soft-Power Push: The Search for Respect.” Foreign Affairs, vol. 94, no. 4, 2015, pp. 99–107. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/24483821. Accessed 10 Mar. 2023.
- Pusey, Ian. “War movie about defeat of US Army now China’s biggest film.” New York Post, News Corp, https://nypost.com/2021/11/25/war-movie-about-defeat-of-us-army-now-chinas-biggest-film/
- Weakland, John H. “Themes in Chinese Communist Films.” American Anthropologist, vol. 68, no. 2, 1966, pp. 477–84. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/669350. Accessed 10 Mar. 2023.