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China's Red Army marches on Europe -- on film
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Three Chinese war movies with revolutionary themes were bought by French film company Pretty Pictures in April. It is the first time that Chinese mainstream war movies have been exported to Europe. A representative of the China Film Group Import and Export Corporation told the press that the deal was a great step forward for both sides as it marked a break with long-standing cultural and ideological differences between east and west.

 The poster of "The First of August."

The three movies are "My Long March", a film made to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Long March, "The First of August" and "Night Attack", two films created to mark the 80th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army. They will be screened in cinemas and on TV in France, as well as in Germany, Austria, Holland, Indonesia and a number of African countries.

According to China Movie Industry Weekly, the movies failed to meet French technical specifications at the outset of negotiations, but the films' producer, August First Film Studio, hired the Hualong Film Digital Production Company to convert the film format. Eventually all obstacles were cleared and the final contract was signed this month.

A film censor in the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) said the deal was not just about business but also reflected the French government's intention to improve relations with China in the run-up to the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France. It may also be a quid-pro-quo for opportunities to promote French movies in China.

Some Beijing film industry insiders speculated about the possible "Chinese background" of the French company involved in the deal. But Pretty Pictures President James Velaise said "Our company has no special relationship with any country, whether China, America or France. We decided to import these films because of their low cost and high quality."

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