China’s Rise in Film Development
While the CCP propaganda film Beginning of the Great Revival struck a silent chord in the box office when distributed by American AMC Theatres, Operation Red Sea performed strongly at home. Operation Red Sea was produced with a “reported budget of $72 million budget and resources provided by the PLA (People’s Liberation Army).”
This Chinese action film is expected to be “China’s first modern naval film.” According to the Hong Kong movie director Dante Lam, the PLA granted him unconditional support in the production of Operation Red Sea, stating “the answer I received was ‘anything you want we will do our best to cooperate.’” Lam is also the director of the blockbuster action movie Operation Mekong, which surpassed all Hollywood productions in the box office revenue in 2016.
The plot is inspired by the evacuation of nearly 600 Chinese citizens and 225 foreign nationals during the Yemen civil war in 2015. In the movie, individual heroes united against invaders, protected citizens overseas, and guarded the territorial waters of the nation.
According to a Beijing-based navel expert interviewed by Global Times, the prominent background of the film is the “comprehensive national strength of China.” The Chinese military’s willingness to showcase its latest armaments is indicative of Beijing’s commitment to promote “Chinese miracles” by creating “a world-class country’s military.”
While Chinese army is “lagging behind” on land, the Chinese Air Force under Xi’s leadership is “on a par with those in Western arsenals,” reported BBC. The ideological underpinnings of the reform and modernization of China’s military forces have led the U.S. Department of Defense to label China as a “revisionist power” that poses “threats to U.S. security and prosperity today.”
In return, the CCP has called on party members to be vigilant against “the very threat of Western anti-China forces” and strengthen their unwavering adherence to principles “in the ideological sphere,” reported ChinaFile.
In her essay "After the Post-Cold War," Dai Jinhua, a Peking University professor, provides an alternative method of contemplating the notion of “China’s rise” from the standpoint of history.
Dai points out that the “new hegemonic discourse” in China “exposed the reality of the post-post-Cold war within the world discourse.” Specifically, the country’s implication in the process of globalization entails the displacement of the cinematic production from the historical context of contemporary China. That the commodification of Chinese cinema by recreating “the spectacle and editing rhythm of Hollywood films” now symbolizes China as a “new player in the global vie for supremacy” does not constitute a base from which a model of China’s rise can be adequately deducted.