Blink and you'll miss the stars

Rebecca Tsui
Rebecca Tsui |

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by Rebecca Tsui

It has been said The Founding of a Republic will only appeal to people born after the 1980s who are keen on Chinese history, elderly citizens who lived through the cultural revolution or fans of local and mainland stars.

If this is true, all viewers will be disappointed.

First, the film is not necessarily reliable in its reflection of history, so it doesn't really work as a tutorial.

Secondly, older people who lived through it all know far more about the era than this film, so let your grandparents reminisce by asking them for a lesson.

And for those who watch solely to star-spot, blink and you'll miss them - some actors appear for mere seconds. Apart from Tang Guoqiang and Zhang Guoli, who play Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek respectively, very few of the reported 170 cast members leave an impression.

Even if you're not familiar with Chinese history and have no idea of the relationships between the political parties, it's still clear some of the scenes are exaggerated. One prominent example is where Mao plays with his daughters in a field full of flowers. This is meant to be war.

Don't be too alarmed if people burst into applause when the movie is finished. The film isn't a bad way to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic. And if you get confused by the story, keeping tally how many movie stars you can recognise is a good way to pass the time.