Shanghai film festival to kick off with Chinese propaganda film 1921 despite prior nationalist boycott

A heavily-vetted Chinese propaganda film, which is going to be premiered as the opening night selection of the Shanghai International Film Festival on Friday, has sparked a heated debate among a section of citizens.

The state-sanctioned film 1921 portrays the historic moment of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and re-enacts the story of the party’s initial years.

The film will also celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of CPC, which will hit the theatres on 1 July. Subsequent to being vetted by the Chinese film board, numerous patriots are condemning the film for being “overly commercial.”

As reported by Variety, patriots believe that the posters and official cast list (with a long roster of 100 celebrities), including viral young stars, do not do justice to the progressive legends the film portrays.

There’s plenty of debate between hyper-nationalistic loyalists and fans of the celebrity idols.

The hashtag #Boycott1921, which was trending on the Chinese microblogging website Weibo, gathered over 3.6 million views before being censored.

The cast of the film includes actors Huang Xuan, Ni Ni, Liu Hao Ran, and Wang Renjun, among others.

One Twitter user from Hong Kong highlighted that it’s ironic how Chinese nationalists are mad at “a hardcore propaganda film” not being patriotic enough.

He wrote: “I am truly cackling the Chinese Nationalists are now mad at a hardcore propaganda film being not patriotic enough hahahahhahaha”

1921 isn’t the first controversial film set to be included at the Shanghai International film festival. In 2019, a patriotic war film named The Eight Hundred was scrubbed from the opener list one day before its debut. Apparently, censors appear to have disagreed with the version of history it depicted.

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