Monday March 26, 2018
Xi Jinping Hearts Hollywood
Jonathan Landreth at China Film Insider has a piece on the possible film habits of the president (for life?) of China. Not much is really known. In fact, so little is known that Landreth is relying on a 2010 Wikileaks dump that includes a summation of a conversation between Xi and then U.S. ambassador Clark Randt—from Randt's perspective:
Exactly 10 years ago at Randt's Beijing residence, the future President of China revealed that he was a fan of Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan and Martin Scorsese's The Departed (adapted from the Hong Kong cops-and-gangsters classic, Infernal Affairs). The cables said that Xi “particularly likes Hollywood movies about World War II,” declaring, “Hollywood makes those movies well, and such Hollywood movies are grand and truthful. Americans have a clear outlook on values and clearly demarcate between good and evil. In American movies, good usually prevails.”
But what has Xi said about Chinese directors? The Wikileaks cables told us that he was confused by Zhang Yimou's court intrigue, Curse of the Golden Flower, lumping it together with Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, dramas that “all are the same, talking about bad things in imperial palaces.” Xi told Randt: “Some Chinese moviemakers neglect values they should promote.”
I'm curious if Xi thinks the likes of “Wolf Warrior II” and “Operation Red Sea” help make up for this dearth—if these movies reflect the Chinese values he would like to promote. I get the feeling: yes.
But what I particularly like? Xi sees traditional values and good vs. evil absolutism in Hollywood movies, which he applauds. Right-wing American critics don't, and condemn Hollywood for being liberal. Think on that. The good vs. evil absolutism that pleases authoritarian rulers is weak tea to American conservatives.