The article by Scotty Hendricks in Big Think and titled “The silent Chinese propaganda in Hollywood movies” presents the entry of the Yellow Giant into the movie world as an aggression against Hollywood productions, unstained by any kind of ideological bent or bias. It´s entirely impossible to dialogue with cynics!
Basically, China seeks to introduce two new scenarios in its national productions as well as in cooperation with foreign production companies, Hollywood in particular:
I-Projection of their vision of the world; of their interpretation of reality.
II-Projection of a more objective image of their own history and idiosyncrasy.
In numerous films, Chinese filmmakers present westerners as elements of discord in the politics of their country and sometimes as destabilizing mercenaries on orders of the CIA or else of the nineteenth-century European monarchies, which is strictly true. However, they are never ridiculed or humiliated –China has always accepted the struggle of forces in the dialectics of history. In general terms, China sees the world as the battlefield between right and wrong, and this vision is reflected to a large extent in their literature and films.
On the other hand, Chinese directors and producers try to project an image of their country’s history and idiosyncrasy which would reflect its greatness, its achievements, its peculiarities, its intelligence, certain evildoing elements in its society, but also its undeniable virtues –precisely what is trampled on by the indoctrinating and puerile Hollywood cinematography.
However, Scotty Hendricks, and with him the main ideological and political currents in his country, do not seem willing to accept that Chinese cameramen and their specialists capture scenes, landscapes, dialogues, conversations and music with a skill which Hollywood can never dream of.
Hendricks accuses China, the height of cynicism, of using cinema for propaganda purposes. Perhaps he has already forgotten the thousands of films on which several generations of westerners have grown up and which showed savage and bloodthirsty Native Americans, with no other language than the howls they emitted while setting colons on fire, killing white children and raping their mothers. Or perhaps he remembers all that, but he has forgotten war movies with which western cinemas were flooded at some point, where we could watch the Germany full of swastikas, concentration camps and the stupidest and most evil German military one could possibly imagine. SH might remember all that, but he has forgotten countless movies about the Vietnam War showing us American soldiers –so courageous, virtuous, heroic, semi-gods nearly, battling devilish creatures one would never suspect of having families, language or human heart. And we do not speak here of subjectivism, but of lying, of presenting false reality that was meant to replace the truth.
But perhaps it is the technical and thematic superiority of the Chinese movie industry what most alters the nervous system, already on the verge of breakdown, of SH and sponsors. We have not seen anything made in Hollywood or in Europe that remotely resembles the beauty, perfection and feelings one finds in Chinese productions such as “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” or “Red Cliff”, not to mention truly unique “House of the Flying Daggers”, about which Dan Jolin (Empire) wrote: “The visuals are breathtaking, the fights are heart-stopping, this is how action movies should be made.” And Nell Minow (Common Sense Media) wrote: “Director Yimou Zhang (Hero, Raise the Red Lantern) is a master of ravishing, rapturous images drenched with glowing, jewel-like colors, unfurling like a rich tapestry.” You won’t find a review written in these terms for any western film, on either side of the Atlantic.
It is not, then, an act of demagogy to celebrate the Chinese film industry. The thematic richness of their traditions, their exuberant imagination, their art and technique allow them to produce what are milestones in the history of cinema.
China has the keys to economic success
The greatest possible concern in the United States is not only about the loss of world hegemony, but also and above all about the loss of economic system of control. China is the largest world market for all products, cinema included. If Beijing closes its doors to Hollywood, the big studios in California will have to shut down or dedicate themselves to other chores. Moreover, with the foreign cinema booming –China, Japan, India, Russia, even Iran– many productions are no longer profitable. In recent years we have witnessed extensive Sino-American collaboration that has yielded excellent films into which China has put money and conditions.
The keys are in their hands, and the doors will open or close depending on the themes Hollywood wishes to focus on –whether they conform to reality or continue to be propaganda basically anti-Chinese.
Not all that glitters is gold
The beauty of the landscape, the unparalleled aesthetics and technical perfection of Chinese film productions, lack, however, the spiritual component. The radical atheism that Mao introduced into the Chinese society, which already existed in Confucianism and Taoism as more sophisticated forms of shamanism, is going to cause the same damage it is causing to western societies. Their incredible and sustained economic growth makes China believe that they can create their paradise on this Earth –every day it is easier to become a house or a car owner, an avid consumer of goods and all sort of extras… it looks like a never ending welfare is practically guaranteed. However, those societies will soon understand that the absurdity of this life does not lie in being poor or rich, but in not knowing why we exist. This is the discomfort that never ceases to molest us; this is the anguish that leads us to drugs and suicide.
My condition of poverty leads me to think that if I were rich, I would be immensely happy. The cause of my dissatisfaction and frustration seems to lie in my economic or social situation, although I might also consider being famous, powerful or revered… All of them are false objectives, unable, once achieved, to provide sustained happiness or satisfaction. If we do not seek relief in drugs, in any drug, the anguish returns.
China must abandon the path followed by materialistic and atheist societies and enter the path of reflection, of careful observation of ourselves and of what surrounds us. If China manages to conquer space and reach the confines of the universe, what difference would there be between the pilot flying the spaceship and the peasant who collects rice? Which of the two would be happier? Which one would have attained a more profound understanding of existence? A Taoist maxim says: “The wise man has never left the attic in which he lives, yet he knows the whole world.”
The inevitable event called death makes every effort, dream or project useless. Time devours everything, we see it every day. The prophet Muhammad (s.a.s), the first to use statistics to explain certain phenomena, once said: “Every 100 years all humanity is renewed.” None of us will be alive in 2118. All of us will have perished. Does not this fact deserve deep reflection? Is not this fact worthy of a good movie?