China Insight Series: Chinese Movies 1-1

The Insight Series for 2014 continues! This series introduces excellent Chinese movies and encourages movie appreciation with focused themes.

Our series consists of four themes: Chinese History, Chinese Kung Fu, Chinese Cartoons, and China Today. For each theme, three movies will be introduced.

For the first theme, Chinese History, we will introduce: The Founding of A Republic, City of Life and Death, and Red Cliff.

For the second theme, Chinese Kung Fu, we will introduce: The Grandmaster, Hero, and Reign of Assassins.

The Founding of a Republic (建国大业)

The movie The Founding of a Republic was released on September 16, 2009, dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

Shortly after the War of Resistance against Japan ended in 1945, the civil war broke out between Kuomintang (KMT) and the Communist Party of China (CPC) and lasted until the founding of the PRC in October 1949. The movie tells the story based on the historical facts during this period, following the historical events prior to the founding of new China and the establishment of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). 

August of 1945 witnessed the victory of China's war against Japanese invasion. To avoid a civil war, Double-Ten Agreement was reached by the KMT and the CPC. Soon, the civil war broke out anyhow, owing to irreconcilable conflicts between the two parties, leaving the agreement ineffective. Apart from striking back the military attacks from the KMT during the civil war, the CPC was striving for more support from the democratic parties. The war lasted over two years. In consultation with major democratic party leaders such as Soong Ching-ling, Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai were planning the founding of a new China upon the evident military advantages the CPC gained during the civil war. On October 1, 1949, the People's Republic of China was founded.

The movie focuses on the period from October 1945 to October 1949 and recounts the events of the major figures of the two parties. From this movie, we can learn the domestic conditions and the political struggles between the two parties from the end of the War of Resisitance against Japan till the eve of the new China. We may also learn of the various attitudes towards China of all parties at that time.

The movie directors, Han Sanping and Huang Jiaxin are both well-known contemporary Chinese directors. More than one hundred Chinese movie stars co-starred in the movie for free.

Main Characters

  • Mao Zedong, Chairman of the PRC
  • Zhou Enlai, Premier of the PRC
  • Chiang Kai-shek, National Government President, President of the KMT
  • Song Ching-ling, Wife of Sun Yat-sen
  • Chiang Ching-kuo, Chiang Kai-shek's son and right-hand man

Confucian Saying Of The Month


Zǐ yuē: "Wǒ fēi shēng ér zhīzhī zhě, hǎo gǔ, mǐn yǐ qiú zhī zhě yě.."

The Master said, "I wasn't born with innate knowledge. I am simply a man who loves ancient culture
and is diligent in seeking it."

Chinese Character Of The Month



This Chinese character is a phonogram. Its pronunciation follows the left part (每) pronounced as měi, which means to cover or to envelop. The right part is a transforming radical of 攴, which means to knock or to break. So the two parts collectively mean the action of breaking the covering and extend to refer to being prompt to get rid of the predicament.

敏捷 mǐnjié – agility
敏锐 mǐnruì – keen
敏感 mǐngǎn – sensitive
敏慧 mǐnhuì – clever, intelligent

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