My I.S. project studies several Chinese films that are elaborations of the Chinese Communist Revolution. They include White Haired Girl by A Jia and Zheng Yiqiu (1950), Red Detachment of Women by Xie Jin (1961), Sparkling Red Star by Li Ang and Li Jin (1974), Breaking With Old Ideas by Li Wenhua (1975), To Live by Zhang Yimou (1993), and Through Stunning Storms by An Zhanjun (2011). The study of these films on Chinese revolution also incorporates my reflections the Long March enactments organized through China Studies Institute at Peking University, and my interviews with Chinese individuals, made possible by a grant from Copeland Funds for undergraduate researches. My reflections on the Long March trip, completed during the spring of 2013, provide a sense of reality and history for such famous battle sites in Guizhou Province as Loushanguan, Chishui River, Qinggangshan, and Zhunyi where the Red Army fought. Along with a few photos I took, these reflections help capture the monumental struggle of Chinese Communism that film directors hope to convey. My analyses of the films and the interviews conducted in Beijing with Chinese people varying in age and social class show paralleling and sometimes conflicting narratives of history and film to record the key events in modern Chinese history. Most importantly, interviews on people’s reactions to these films and inevitably their understanding of the Communist Revolution reveal drastic change and difference in Chinese politics. This study reveals the difference between how film directors interpret the past and how contemporary Chinese rethink their identity as the heirs of Mao’s revolution.


Wang, Rujie

Second Advisor

Zhang, Yue


Chinese Studies


Chinese Studies


Cultural Revolution, long march, Mao Zedong

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2014 Jarid S. Heffers