Patriotism in Chinese Cinema | Video Essay

Patriotism in Chinese Cinema | Video Essay


So I was watching Wolf warrior A 2015 Chinese blockbuster And I saw this It’s a deeply patriotic battle cry Like one of those you saw in Independence Day But instead of feeling proud as the Chinese My feeling was mixed But then I realized this is not a speech to raise morale This is a warning Directly to the rest of the world My earliest exposure to Chinese patriotism was in elementary school trip to the cinema The films were always educational to some degree Which is why I never understood why we watched Drunken Mmaster II It’s a 1994 Hong Kong classic It tells the fictionalized story of a Chinese folk hero Called Wong Fei-hung In the film he’s a young martial artists who uses skill to fight injustice But he’s playful attitude tends to cause more trouble It was a good time like most Jackie Chan movies But at the time, I was too young to fully understand the message behind it You see, Imperial China was once a victim of colonial exploits To oversimplify things, in the mid-1800s late Qing Dynasty British merchants smuggle large amount Opium’s in the China for sale …in exchange for highly demanded items like silks and Chinese tea This created a generation of drug addicts in China The increasingly worsened relationship between the Qing government and the British merchants …escalated into the opium war Which the British won And Hong Kong became a British colony From that point on many Western countries also exploited China More and more Chinese territories were at “leased” to Western powers as well as blatant robbery …like the burning of the old Summer Palace And there’s also Japanese invasion in World War II To this day, you can see the scars of colonialism in many Chinese cities It’s not rare to see old western building clusters standing in a middle of a Chinese city This is why Chinese patriotic films have foreign bad guys In Classics like Drunken Master II The message is revolving around a core Chinese values To never forget the shame of the nation And to endlessly improve ourselves In the film, the protagonist represented the self-perceiving image of a pre-colonial China He is strong, but he is immature He’s good at heart, but he causes trouble He has great power, but he abuses it But when faced with a national crisis He learns and uses power for what really matters This is where wolf warrior steps in the film features a renegade hero who causes trouble just like Jackie Chan He is the best of the best, just like Jackie Chan And he also faces a national crisis Which he has to use his power to solve But it’s not being punished for the mayhem he caused… His renegade actions always save the day At the end, he is always right There’s nothing for this surrogate of China to learn, to improve Going back to Drunken Master again The main villain of the film is the European business tycoon He is well-dressed, well-spoken A larger-than-life existence In wolf warrior our main [villain] is visualized with shots like this It’s grotesque, making the villain appear as a clown You know what I fight for? Money So not only does our hero learn nothing He has no need to By having the bad guy portrayed as less than human It removed the motivation for self-improvement This is why the line sound is so wrong to me It’s not a message to the Chinese people It’s warning the rest of the world. It doesn’t help improve the nation It just boast the strength of China Something this film does plenty of With economic upturn it seems China is finally stepping out of the trauma of the past century With that, an increasing amount of Chinese blockbusters features invincible characters They beat up the foreigners And nothing is learn at the end It’s easy for Chinese people to feel like we are on top of the world, But this pride had led the nation astray before The prideful Ming and Qing dynasty closed off its trade to the rest of the world multiple times And in the process, we missed out on the progress the west has made the Age of Discovery the Industrial Revolution Next thing we know the wall of China …was knocked down by cannon fire from British ships

100 thoughts on “Patriotism in Chinese Cinema | Video Essay

  1. Chinese policies: occupy this occupy that create problem for neighbors
    Chinese movies: lets go show that we are not the aggressor
    We tripped on street and tibet was occupied somehow

  2. U know why ancient Chinese wanted to close off the trade with westerners? Cauz they didn’t wanna interact and associate with anyone of em. It’s just a form of racism, what they want was they live their own world and u guys go back ur own world. Completely cut down from the outside world to avoid demons

  3. No matter how much India and china get salty with eachother
    But as an Indian i love china and its history fascinates me but what china faced before world war and before they are doing the same other countries now

  4. It is nice to know that at least some people recognize reality.

    The world will belong to you if we fall. Don't make our same mistakes.

  5. Makes me think of Slavoj Zizeks documentary "The Perverts Guide to Ideology" where Zizeks dark point is that movies have undelying unspoken class messages like how the underlying narrative of 'Titanic' was that the rich person can flirt with the poor but eventually the rich person has to grow up and marry into the upper class, and also that it is the rich who get to narrate the lives of the poor, the rich who say what is true in a way. If you haven't seen that documentary you should check it out, its interesting.

  6. Today, China is the colonial power exploiting South American and African countries while attempting to economically and finally through military might take over the Phillipine’s

  7. Chinese movies: we gonna fck you mongrels if you mess with us.

    Me: keanu and Matt Damon. Show these ignorant savages, what we are made off.

    You: I'm offended. I'm going to write an extremely mean comment, just to show that I am offended. Shame on you.. and shame on me for not being able to take a joke.

  8. Same with the west, how we pretend white people are the saviors of the world and the greatest at everything. In truth, they caused all the trouble and clean it up in the limelight to look good. Look at American Sniper, GOD rest his soul irl. They displayed 9/11 as heartbreaking, sending Chris Kyle over seas to kill all the bad guys. But, the movie completely shuts out the highway of death, which sparked 9/11 as an act of revenge. And look at Black Hawk Down, white knight going into a black country defending these hopeless black people from other evil black people. In reality, the US was working on colonizing the area and intervened in a civil war, using it as an opportunity for occupation. The "bad guys" weren't even looking at Americans until they jumped in unwanted and even the movie unintentionally exposes this trying to make it seem like it was because of a chopper.
    Put yourself in Osama's and the Somali's shoes. Osama and Omar were conquering the middle east, uniting Muslim factions. That was their main goal. Their plans were working, they didn't want anything to fuck anything up. Why would Osama randomly attack a country with the strongest military in the world when his life long dream and 20 years of hard work is just at arm's reach? He told Omar he had no clue who did 9/11 and not to worry because it wasn't them. We kill Osama and get a bunch of oil and money… strange. This is the same for the Somalis and their civil war. in fact, it's exactly the same. Why would they attack an American chopper at the verge of victory?
    If you are about to win a boxing championship, would you stop the fight and ask Floyd Mayweather to jump in and help the guy you're fighting?
    So the west promotes lies while the east promotes power. Both sides are wrong.

  9. Well at some point we have to agree that the western world is has ignorant has everybody we humans no matter from where we are the stupidity is part of the species and theres no arguing

  10. However most of the common folks in China loves their country blindly, a single bad word or a misinterpretation will be exaggerated as a ‘homeland pride and honour issue’

  11. You've got to be kidding me. There's no difference in the Western versions either. It's that they're a little less subtle but there non the less. Same old, same old.

  12. To be fair to the Qing dynasty, I wouldn't think Western powers would be interested in creating a China that had defense parity with themselves. And there was a lot of internal strife when Japan westernized itself to find such a parity (and still lost to the United States).

    In my humble, layman's opinion Chinese patriotism is only as bad as the people who try to influence the country with it. If they're xenophobic or arrogant, China be just the same. Here in the US, patriotism and anti-immigration rhetoric have pushed us to distance the nation away from our longtime ally Mexico.

  13. USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA

  14. It's funny seeing them attempt to boast their strength by showing circa 1980s military hardware. Speaking of the 1980s, literally everything the Chinese are doing is straight out of 1980s American movie playbooks.

  15. Opium war -the opium is from India and we did.nt get paid for selling those opium so I can understand the Chinese sentiment who it is like to be bulled by bloody English people

  16. Germany learned propaganda film from Russia
    American learned from German propaganda
    China learned from the Americans

  17. I don't think u r right comparing modern China with Qing and Ming dynasty. Back then, rulers of the imperial China despise foreigners and refuse to learn. However, right now, it's only the Chinese people who will be affected by these Chinese pride films. Do u think the ruling class don't know shit about the world? Hell no, they are very clear of China's position. China still needs to improve. At the same time, what's wrong by making normal civilians proud of their motherland? Western countries always make these films and self-comfort themselves.

  18. The chinese movie industry has even infiltrated hollywood. When was the last time you saw a movie with a chinese antagonist?

  19. 我并不认为这些电影会让中国像明清时期一样重蹈覆辙,当时的统治阶级和整个社会都拒绝接触西方、拒绝学习,然而现在,你觉得国家领导人难道会因为这几部爱国电影就蒙蔽双眼、在政策制定上不思进取了吗?只是普通人看了这些电影后会以为中国很强大,会高潮一波,但是让平民百姓为自己的国家骄傲有什么错吗?每年这么多的出国留学生难道没有证明这些电影并没有让中国人不思进取吗?尤其是现在西方世界“中国威胁论”炒的厉害,你这样的观点怕不是只会让西方世界更警觉,而不是唤醒中国吧?毕竟中国不需要唤醒,因为这些电影根本不会让人沉睡。

  20. 我也理解作者在YouTube做视频,尤其是英文视频,需要迎合西方人的观念,但这样的言论对中国其实是不利的,宣扬中国威胁论的同时结尾却给人一种好像是在唤醒中国、不要重蹈覆辙的感觉,其实很牵强

  21. Excellent video! I liked your comment about “pride and overconfidence” being the downfall of a country… I really wish we Americans would take a step back from such self-admiration and consider that a downfall can happen here, too.

  22. I’m surprised that the renegade hero trope is so mainstream in China though. You wouldn’t expect an authoritarian oligarchy to support a “fight the power” message…

  23. I think its present in every culture. Just look American movies or shows, Americans are always cool, relaxed, interesting, funny and foreign people are always stupid, retarded and awkward. American soldiers are cool and brave, enemy is always evil and again, retarded. Or by watching war movie, if I didn't know history, I would think D-day won the war and etc.

  24. China is exploiting their southeast Asian neighbors like the Philippines…so in essence the bullied are now the bullies.

  25. Let em come. We have the biggest military budget in the world. The strongest air force in the world. Most hangars than any countries. Best special forces in the world we got pjs,jtacs,green Barrets.

  26. What the fuck is this bullshit? Like US of fucking A blockbusters ain't filled with essentially invincible man who fight down any threat their nation is facing, in completely bs last-10-min fights with the enemy.

  27. So funny enough i came into this video thinking of patriotism in modern day chinese media but you enlightened me on why china is the way it is and reminds me of something i heard a while about about the effects of the west on other countries

  28. I remember that wolf warrior was on the Australian News because the bad guys were English speakers LOL. Apparently the truth Hurts.

  29. China felt embarrassed based on their history so naturally they want to send the message that they will NEVER fall again…intimidating their enemies.

  30. There are movies just for entertainment for people enjoying it with no need to use our brain, and there are other movie to let us think. And that movie “worriers” I don’t to watch to know when I watch it my brain can take break, other wise those movie will make my IQ drop.

  31. I agree with all of it except the idea that somehow pre-Colonial China was like a metaphorical strong but innocent immature child, Imperial China has been around for like 1,500 years before the European powers came along, it wasn't some kind of quiet paradise where there wasn't any internal strife it had it's own dark and very long history of conquest and interfering in other countries affairs.

    Granted you did say "perceived image" so I can imagine some Chinese people may see themselves in that light, however I'd say if anything pre-colonial Imperial China was more like a stubborn old man, unwilling to change his ways and traditions when faced with rapid progress and 'newfangled technology and gadgets' and gets left behind whilst the younger generations replace him and he can't do much about it now that its too late. Imperial China has been a power before many of those European powers were yet they still didn't learn till it was too late which does tie in with your conclusion message.

  32. I definitely don’t think the line from wolf warrior was aimed at foreigners. Very few outside of China would have watched it.

  33. As far as creator provincialism goes Americans do it in the lost fun way imo, poking fun at it while also meaning it. Indian movies do a great job lambasting their own patriotism but also playing it straight at the same time. The few Chinese movies I have seen are almost creepy in an uncanny way, its like the whole country is so serious that they cant make fun of themselves. Japanese media always inserts japanese characters as the main one but their stories tend to have a more international appeal. Idk just me

  34. Literally EVERYONE DOES THIS
    Nations with power
    And Nations with history
    The movies of these nations are usually the most patriotic
    As a Greek I can see to many common aspects between Greek, American and Chinese movies

  35. WHAT ABOUT AMERICAN WESTERNIZATION IDEAOLOGY NOW? 😂🤣 WHAT ABOUT WHITE SUPREMACY TERRORIST "KKK" ? 😂😅

  36. I've seen a few it is SO cringy even though i respect it… kinda
    Wolf warrior is so stupidn xD i loved how they made the american or brit the bad guy, but the direction is so dumb

  37. Did anyone see the movie wandering earth? Its a chinese movie about saving the earth.
    In that movie all nations work together, would it have been a hollywood movie then only america worked alone

  38. (I’m sure many westerners will detest this, but I could care less they will die out anyway or move to Russia like so many Germans and Brits in Russia). Over 92% of Russians said they were patriots, largest military (3.6 mil soldiers), soon third largest economy 2020-2030 ($4 trillion, 6th), fastest growing major – Germany fastest declining major), China is second most patriotic country, second largest economy (soon first), second largest military (2.1 million soldiers).

  39. The Bush family started their fortune in opium trade which at the time was legal, they knew it was addictive so naturally a good business model ( sick bastards ) They did not earn their wealth with oil, that came much later as they had to do something with all the money. Stop with the Bush oil dynasty crap and do some research, btw these facts are hard to find.

  40. I mean what do you expect, its not only the people's and directors problem, its the censorships and the political beliefs of PRC that ruins the movies they make

  41. Imperial China was not a victim of colonialism other than trade ports Europeans couldn't establish rule like in India outside these coastal cities like Hong Kong and Macao…and anyways there was no Hong Kong before the British created it.

  42. Sooo china is a butthurt country who is a cry baby and wants to seek revenge just like Nazi Germany, lost in WW1 and became a looser then seek revenge in WW2. Real men seek no revenge, they accept defeat and improve themselves not to get bullied anymore.

  43. Though at least the US is trying to sell a more positive way of life. Communist China is trying to sell communist dictatorship where the cadre members rule like overlords over the non-members below and get all the best benefits and jobs. They can't even buy property, only lease.

  44. The Grand Dragon 🐉 Xi-JinPing will have Hong Kong 🇭🇰 The Grand Dragon 🐉 Xi-JinPing will take Taiwan 🇹🇼 The Grand Dragon 🐉 Xi-JinPing May He love forever

  45. Wow China is not ready to fight a ground war with the United States. They think they have a chance and with sore losers nukes will fly.
    Not trying to troll but seriously these movies have lead to mistakes like videos of grenade tossing with the Chinese Army.
    Those who through the Grenade probably watched a WW2 movie with a solder lobbing a grenade in the air and landing in the cockpit of a passing Japanese zero. Then exploding. It’s interesting they brainwash citizens so bad they have become dumber.

  46. The comments never let me down, good job westerners, criticizing our immature film industry which developed for only 40 years after the Reform and Opening, comparing it to Americans film industry which developed around early 1910, this is almost like a university student laughing at a year 6 kid for not writing good essays.

    I wonder what happened to us Chinese back during 1910? Ah yes, our country is being raped by the world, many countries tried to colonize us, our people cannot even put food on the table while the same time learning how to kiss you westerners ass to survive the day. So as I said, comparing our film industry to Hollywood is just totally fine.

    I guess we are just tired of this kind of bs, so we need to get our sense of pride back, through our own movie industry, somehow even that bothers you I guess, you just cannot live a day without laughing or judging other country.

    I am pretty politically neutral, educated in a western country since high school, I understand there is a lot of issues with our country, but no worries we are solving them faster than you can even think.

    I wonder which algorithm YouTube have has decided to put this video on my recommends,

    Oh and for those who think we sell crap to the world, the products we use back home in China are actually pretty good, driven by our huge domestic market and population, lots of competition, so since I cannot remember which year we start bring products with us when we come back from China, because we cannot trust western brands as some of them are heavily overpriced and break down as quickly as ours.

  47. I don't think the Chinese govt is being unreasonable. The power of Chinese to resist imperialism is unity. They are enforcing unity along patriotic lines. Historically China is not a world power but a regional one which as a westerners beleive me, you Chinese don't want to be The world power if that means all the problems we have in the west. You don't want that

  48. Look at the rape of Nanking, an event we in the west didn’t pay attention bc later japan became our “friend” against communist China. But the wholesale rape and murder? That could never be forgiven

  49. Wolf warrior series are not good films in many aspects, however most Hollywood garbage superhero films no better.

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