Shows leader as a tourist
Though the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping (190497) has been portrayed on big screens many times as a legend, a recent film on him chooses a sideways angle and tries to show something beyond the stereotypes.
This fresh view, seen in a nationwide release last week, is the image of a persevering tourist rather than a resourceful political leader. Deng’s Climb depicts his four-day trip in July 1979 to Mount Huangshan, a celebrated scenic area in East China’s Anhui province.
“I am shooting not a great person, but an old man,” says director Chen Guoxing, who is known for his mainstream biographics and historical dramas.
“It’s a great challenge for mebecause I have to develop an appealing film from a story far away from today’s young generation that does not have very strong dramatic conflicts.”
Nevertheless, some publicly released pictures recording that trip include Deng with several college students — China’s college entrance exam had only resumed two years before, following a 11-year hiatus — from Fudan University, and a chance encounter with members of a Hong Kong martial-arts film production unit. Dengis also shown busily signing autographs for tourists.
These reflect Chinese society’s subtle changes at the time and provide the director with elements to draw a big picture.
“We’ve gotten used to seeing Deng as a serious decision-maker when the country was at a crossroad,” Chen explains.
“But, this time, we wanted to use a warm tone to reflect China’s crucial issues through his interaction with ordinary people.”
Many controversial issues stirring China at the time, such as the reform of the rural “household responsibility system” and the status