The Founding of a Republic is a 2009 Chinese historical film commissioned by China’s film regulator and made by the state-owned China Film Group (CFG) to mark the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. The film was directed by Huang Jianxin and China Film Group head Han Sanping.
Although the film premiered on September 17, 2009 in mainland China, it has yet to receive publicity in Taiwan (Republic of China). The film was produced with the backing of the Communist Party, but in response to some reactions outside Mainland China, Huang Jianxin, the film’s co-director, “has said it was unfair to describe The Founding of a Republic as propaganda, since modern Chinese audience were too sophisticated to swallow a simplistic rendering of history. While the government in Taiwan has asserted that it has no plans to actively censor the film, it has yet to be released because Taiwan’s 2009 annual quota of 10 mainland films was already reached.
The film retells the tale of the Communist ascendancy and triumph, and has a star-studded cast including Andy Lau, Ge You, Hu Jun, Leon Lai, Zhang Ziyi, Donnie Yen, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Zhao Wei, and directors Jiang Wen, Chen Kaige and John Woo, many of whom make cameo appearances so brief they could be easily missed; the leading roles are played by actors equally renowned in China, such asTang Guoqiang and Zhang Guoli, but they are less well-known internationally. A CFG spokesman said many stars answered Han Sanping’s call to appear in the film, and waived their fee. Thus, the movie kept to its modest budget of 60–70 million yuan (US$8.8–$10 million). According to the executive at one of China’s top multiplex chains, the film unusually marries “the core of an ‘ethically inspiring’ film with commercial packaging.