Films About Women During The Cultural Revolution Of China

Tuesday, August 2 by Annmicha Blugh

Films about women during the Cultural Revolution of China (1966-1976) depicted women as heroes who overcome great adversity. Historically, during the Chinese cultural revolution, women were participants in carrying forward the revolution. Mao was a Chinese communist who was not satisfied the make-up of the economy and bureaucratic system of government. The revolution was his way of solving Marxist and Leninist theory. The Red Guard was activated, charged with suppressing the capitalist presence in China

  1. "A Safe Belt" (1974) is a revolutionary Chinese film remarking on the story of Hong Ying, a female accountant. As a diligent and thrifty financier, she oversees the expenditure of a Chinese province. She installs safe belts to protect the 'disappearing' funds which angers her predecessor who was involved in money laundering and misappropriation of public funds. 
  2. "Haixia" (1975) is a Chinese cultural revolution film about a crew of female soldiers who become fisherwomen to provide for themselves during the Chinese cultural revolution and join forces in the fight for independence. During the revolution, occurrences of revolts were common within the Chinese female militia and this film depicts a story of the band of heroines determine to defend their borders from encroaching troops.
  3. "Youth Just Like Fires" (1976) is another Chinese cultural revolution film featuring women. Shan Hua, a poor Chinese peasant girl, is the female hero in this revolution who urges villagers to continue cultivating rice despite the political upheavals. She accomplishes more than a type of agricultural revolution in her local area, she uncovers the plots of some of the village enemies. 
  4. "Women Half the Sky" (1976) tells the story of women during the Chinese cultural revolution and openly criticizes the philosophies of revered Chinese icons such as Confucius and Lin. This film is inspired by the Chinese proverb says that "Women hold up half the sky," and seems to encourage gender equality. Chang Jinfeng is a Chinese feminist who denounces these long-cherished, patriarchal theories, condemning them for imprisoning the minds and potential of women throughout history. 
  5. "Come Drink With Me" (1966) is the story set in the Chinese cultural revolution about the heroic acts of a woman. In the age in which martial arts star Bruce Lee was rising, this movie depicts the story of a woman who learns kung-fu to avenge her brother who had been kidnapped. Posing as a man, this heroine wreaks havoc against several bandits and high-ranking, corrupt officials. 
  6. "The Red Detachment of Women" (1965) is a Chinese cultural revolution film about a group of women warriors. It is inspired by the opera, "The Red Women's Army," which recounts a band of Amazonian-like women revolutionarie fighting for equal rights and attempting to overthrow an old regime. Although this movie is set in 1930s China, it speaks about relevant issues with a feminine grace that thrilled audiences and did not threaten political propagandists controlling cinema productions and distribution.

- Annmicha Blugh