Red Detachment of Women (1971)

Genres - Musical  |   Sub-Genres - Propaganda Film  |   Run Time - 115 min.  |   Countries - China  |  
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One of only six movies made in China during Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), this film is a fascinating document of one of the 20th century's most tumultuous upheavels and an exemplar of Communist kitsch. Remade from a Xie Jin's 1961 movie of the same name, this film retains all but the barest elements from its predecessor, distilling the material into blunt propaganda, relying on stock characterization, obvious iconography and no spoken dialogue. This Red Detachment of Women is a visually striking revolutionary opera/dance performance piece in which the actresses are clad in Mao suits, bayonets and ballet slippers. The story, which takes place during the political chaos just prior to the Communist takeover (1927-37), concerns a peasant girl who endures pain and humiliation at the hands of an evil landlord, prompting her to join the communist rebels. This film was screened at the Venice Film Festival in 1971.

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High Historical Importance