New CPC film a historical epic with global vision
The highly anticipated historical epic film "1921" will begin its national release on July 1 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China.
Co-directed by veteran filmmakers Huang Jianxin and Zheng Dasheng, the film sheds light on the historic year of 1921 when the Party was founded in Shanghai by a group of young people who strived to launch the CPC's First National Congress.
The movie received applause from a crowd of young people when it was shown on June 11 as the opening film of the recent 24th Shanghai International Film Festival.
During the festival, the crew talked about how they managed to produce a poetic, blockbuster film about the founding of the Party.
The movie's producers extensively researched the period between 1920 and 1921, including building a real-life replica of the original Shanghai venue used for the Congress's inaugural oath-taking ceremony.
The film vividly portrays images of Shanghai in the 1920s, complete with artistic renditions of period locations and artifacts from the era.
"1921" follows the group of young people who were first-hand witnesses to the founding of the Party as representatives at the event 100 years ago.
"We were truly touched by those youngsters who firmly held their beliefs and were devoted to pursuing the truth, which is the core of the film we wanted to make," Huang said.
Huang, whose credits include "The Founding of a Republic" and "Ambush," added that the production team tried to shoot an appealing historical epic with a global vision.
They focused on the faith, passion and dedication of the young Chinese aspirants eager to save the country from collapse. The film also explains why the Party was founded in Shanghai.
"We spent days shooting a vivid running scene with Mao Zedong, who is a young man with perseverance and strong faith," Huang said.
Despite more than 40 years of filmmaking experience, "shooting this film was still a challenge, as I wanted to seek new artistic expressions," he said.
Co-director Zheng Dasheng noted that it was a rewarding experience for him to be engaged in the film's production, and he has learned a lot about that period of history and the cinematography of mainstream movies.
"We tried to portray the inner emotional world of these romantic and devoted young intellectuals," said Zheng. "We also used some elements of the spy film genre to present good storytelling."
The film stars Huang Xuan, Wang Renjun, Ni Ni, Liu Haoran and Chen Kun as a group of young Chinese intellectuals and pioneers.
Prior to production, all the actors in the film did their own background research about the period in history, as well as the roles played by their characters.
"These young actors and actresses are perfectly suited to the roles," said producer Ren Ning. "I was often touched by the sincerity and passion expressed in their eyes during the film shoot."
Actor Wang Renjun, who plays Chairman Mao, said that prior to shooting, he read a lot of historical materials about the leader. Wang added that he has gained personal growth in art and concepts from this memorable acting experience.