Films on CPC’s early years debut on Party centennial
Published: Jul 01, 2021 08:24 PM
Promotional material for <em>1921</em> 
Inset: Moviegoers line up to watch a prescreening of <em>1921</em> in Shanghai on Friday. Photos: Courtesy of Maoyan/VCG

Film 1921. Photos: Courtesy of Maoyan/VCG

The Communist Party of China (CPC)’s centennial has set off a new movie-watching boom among Chinese moviegoers as the two commemorative films 1921 and The Pioneer were released on Thursday.

The historical film 1921 featuring a star-studded cast tells the story of young Chinese who gathered in Shanghai to establish the CPC on July 1, 1921. The Pioneer, a Chinese biographical historical film, depicts the story of pioneer Li Dazhao who spread Marxism and socialism in China, and was one of the key founders of the CPC.

Chinese ticketing platform Maoyan shows that 1921 has grossed 139 million yuan ($22 million) as of Thursday afternoon. 

Hashtags about the two films on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo have reached billions of views and many Chinese netizens have posted online to express their high expectations of the two films.

Employees working in various cinemas in Beijing told the Global Times that the screen shares of 1921 and The Pioneer ranked top on Thursday. 

In Shanghai, 1921 audiences flooded a cinema in downtown Huangpu district on Thursday. Most of the audience was in their 20s or 30s, with some holding the CPC flag, posing in front of the film’s posters at the cinema, the Global Times reporter found.

Gao Lihua, a 70-year-old woman in Beijing who had watched 1921 and came to watch The Pioneer on crutches told the Global Times on Thursday that 1921 has reminded her of elder generations who also contributed a lot for the country, and she hopes more films in the theme could be filmed as the stories of the historical heroes could influence and set a good example to the young generations.

“Many Party members sacrificed their lives at that time… They inspired me to learn from their lofty spirit and serve the people,” Zhang Han, a 26-year-old moviegoer in Shanghai, told the Global Times, adding that he applied to join the Party in March.

Hu Zhifeng, Deputy Dean of Beijing Film Academy, told the Global Times that 1921 not only has a broad international perspective, but also conveys the “confidence from the country, the history and the culture.” 

1921 has a strong sense of youth as the group of young men and women in their 20s have the deep passion and belief in Marxism and saving the country. The details, including the props and the clothes that the actors wore, fully restored the texture of life and history at that time, improving the authenticity and beauty of the movie,” said Hu.

The director, Huang Jianxin, said at a prescreening event that the cast and crew had prepared for five years to study the history and develop the script and the various characters.

1921 has been simultaneously released in North America through the Smart Cinema USA platform on Thursday, and its American partner TV brand platform Vizio, which serves more than 30 million households in the US, according to the report of