China News Magazine (May 2018) and their website (see: http://www.newschinamag.com/newschina/articleDetail.do?article_id=3440§ion_id=4&magazine_id=29; which is also the photo source) ran a story entitled: “War Movies – Patriot Gains”, the subhead is “The success of china’s latest war movie, Operation Red Sea, is part of a new chapter in Chinese patriotic cinema, and reveals how China’s various military branches finance film.”
Movies are big business in China too the tune of $15.8 Billion in February – a record breaking performance even ahead off the best US monthly which the magazine reported as $13.95 Billion in 2011.
The PLA has been a big and successful backer of war movies having sponsored the current hit, Operation Red Sea (which also features the Chinese Navy), Wolf Warrior 2 (at left) last year which was SF themed and of course a PRC Top Gun – Sky Hunter.
Military produced films have ‘covered’ a number of conflicts (in Chinese terminology) such as the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45), China’s Civil War (1945-59) and the Korean War (1950-53).
The settings have evolved along with the PRC’s needs and messages moving into more modern conflicts and showcasing the PRC’s military prowess.
Operation Red Sea is being lauded as the first of a new generation of Chinese War movies. Like their Western Counterparts, Chinese war movies did not appeal to the younger generation of moviegoers. This resulted in transferring responsibility to a new segment of the PRC government. A key element is to stimulate pride in the PRC military and China’s newly elevated international status.
Alas these things don’t happen in America. Hollywood is after box office, and while some moviemakers will tout their social progress philosophy or protest purposes ultimately the free film market is about box office and maybe a bit about “Oscar”.
What are the lessons to be learned for the PSYOP Community?
Actually those lessons would be more DOD focused to include working with filmmakers to insure realism and to do what can be done to influence a balanced perspective.