The Red Detachment Of Women: Film Analysis

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The Red Detachment of Revolutionary Women
During the Chinese Communist Revolution, the Communist Party of China (CPC) transformed many aspects of the Chinese society, for the better and worse. From the many downfalls of the Communist Party, one of the prevailing success stories was the reform of women’s role in Chinese society. Before the Communist revolution, China was a patriarchal, male chauvinist society. The Communists sought to change the traditional roles and ideas of women. During the revolution, Mao Zedong famously proclaimed that “women hold up half the sky”, and that there needed to be equality “between men and women”. His message echoed and permeated all across China. In order to help instill this message, the movie The Red Detachment of Women was released in 1961, with a ballet and opera version that followed after in 1971 and 1972, respectively. The movie was directed by Xie Jin and told a story of a peasant heroine who would overcome the oppression from the local, evil Nationalist by becoming a Communist revolutionist. The film was a Socialist Realist film that depicted the narrative of the virtuous struggle for China, which would become one of most important propaganda films for the Communist Party. The Red Detachment of Women not only depicts the triumph of the Communist Party, but also affirms the idea that women can
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Mao believed that there needed to be a revolution for the old China to become the new China that he envisioned. In order for China to progress, he saw the need to topple the “three big mountains” that were in the way: feudalism, imperialism, and bureaucratic capitalism. To the Communist Party, the Nationalist Party was the old China that needed to be overthrown in the revolution. The film portrays the Communists as heroes and the Nationalists as the