The all-star blockbuster film "The Founding of a Republic," featuring 80 A-listers in a tribute to the country's 60th anniversary, premiered yesterday and won applause from moviegoers.
The 130-minute film casts heavyweights from China's movie industry such as Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Zhang Ziyi, director Feng Xiaogang and many others as some of the historical figures taking stage during the founding of the People's Republic of China 60 years ago. John Woo, a famous director from Hong Kong, had one or two takes in the movie, but they were cut in the final version.
The star-gathering movie was previously scheduled to debut today, but hit cinemas in big cities at 2 pm yesterday afternoon in advance.
Before the movie came out, fans were questioning whether the many stars would hurt the plot's development, but most viewers seemed to be satisfied with the story.
China Daily conducted a quick survey of 20 moviegoers who showed up at the premiere in Mega Box Cinema, Sanlitun, in downtown Beijing. Seventeen gave the film a score of 8 or higher out of 10, saying the plot was perfectly developed, and that all the stars were giving their best performances.
The 20 interviewees were all aged between 23 and 35. Fifteen said that they went to the movie mainly just to see the stars, but then discovered that the plot was quite good. Online forum surveys also confirmed the positive feedback.
The film focuses on the years between 1945 and 1949, when the Communists, led by Mao Zedong fought with Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists, after the failed effort to set up a democratic coalition government.
Also, it gives a detailed depiction of how in 1948 the Communists organized the first meeting of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which today still serves as an important political advisory body.
Liu Zeyu, 28, an IT consultant, took a half-day off work just to see the movie. "I was not familiar with that period of history. The movie helped me understand it deeper. Stars are really acting well, but I am more attracted to the story. It is a story of love, war, conspiracy, and motherland - all elements in blockbuster movies. But this one is special, as it is more of a documentary to me," says Liu.
For history lover Zhang Xiping, 34, the movie is more entertaining. "I learned this history when I was a student, but I didn't know some of those details, for example, that Mao Zedong once met a sneak attack. Audiences will find more interesting details as the movie goes on," he says.
Though it is a serious movie about the country's history, the audience laughed when certain actors made appearances in the film. A-listers included Fan Wei, acting as a chef; Wang Baoqiang, as a soldier; Ge You, as a commander.
(China Daily September 17, 2009)