In most works of art, the tone, costumes, and setting can largely influence the mood of the story. A deep examination of the mentioned attributes can possibly reveal latent messages and intents of the artists. This is evident in both Lao She’s Teahouse and China’s The Founding of a Republic. The Founding of a Republic was funded and produced by Chinese government as a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China; as a result, it widely regarded as propaganda. Lao’s Teahouse, however, was written about the Chinese revolution from a common man’s perspective. These differences in the interpretation of the Chinese revolution, along with the intent of the presentations, reveal the creators’ underlying political messages.
When The Founding of a Republic was released by the Chinese government in 2009, it was dismissed, often prematurely, as communist propaganda. While biased interpretations of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are somewhat explicit through-out the film, the historical events shown are accurate. However, the events portrayed are primarily the malicious acts of the Nationalists, ignoring many of the equally heinous acts of the Communists. An example would be the assassination of 13 Communist party members. While this educates the audience of some of the tragic events of the Chinese Civil War, the communists are clearly portrayed as the virtuous heroes.
The presentation of the characters in The Founding of a Republic gives another look into the Government’s hidden messages. The Nationalists are often shown with a negative connotation. The officials are shown wearing black or very dark outfits and are commonly surrounded by armed soldiers. The KMT scenes, also, are often gloomy or rainy days. This all subtly adds to the dark implication of the Nationalists. As previously mentioned, the prominent historical events shown are a majority of the offenses made by the nationalists. The film depicts the KMT officials as violent and eager to engage in conflicts.
The Communists, however, are portrayed in the opposite light. The authority figures are commonly dressed in light-colored uniforms. The movie’s depiction of Mao Zedong, perhaps, speaks the loudest for the Communist party. Mao is shown as a calm-blooded peaceful leader with great determination. He is shown as a family man, playing with his niece and daughter in a field of flowers. When victorious news of successful battle is delivered to Mao, he is cheerful, yet solemn for the loss of lives. Mao is also shown connecting with and respecting even the lowliest soldiers. When a chef is killed trying to serve the Chairman, Mao is sure to have a proper burial for the man. Even the choices of words in the movie are gentle on the few violent acts of the Communists. When the People’s Liberation Army successfully seizes Shanghai from the Nationals, the movies subtitles claim the city was “Liberated”. The next day the town is...