The biggest little hero of World War II
I just went through the ordeal of moving and vowed to put my pack rat days behind me, never again to tuck away keepsakes, souvenirs or knickknacks until they form an ocean suitable for drowning in.
But I learned about one case where I bet people are wishing a hoarder had been at work.
Much of the history of World War II in China may be lost forever, and a new documentary illustrates the monumental task of recovering mere scraps of it.
Finding Kukan chronicles fourth-generation ChineseAmerican filmmaker Robin Lung’s quest to recover at least one copy of the 1941 film Kukan: The Battle Cry of China, the first documentary to ever win an Academy Award — and the only Oscar-winning
This Day, That Year
ItemfromDec21,1987,in ChinaDaily:Beijing’shotels aregettingreadyforChristmas,andaredecoratedwith flowersandinparticularthe dragon,thesymbolofthe TourismYearof1988.
AgroupfromtheFengtai DistrictofBeijingwillperformlion,dragon,stiltand boatdances.SantaClaus willtravelfromroomto roomtopresentgiftson ChristmasEve.…
Christmas is not formally celebrated on the Chinese documentary with no known copies in existence.
Kukan — the Chinese term for heroic courage under bitter suffering — takes viewers behind the scenes of the Japanese invasion and occupation of the Chinese mainland starting with the aftermath of the Nanjing Massacre and ending with harrowing footage of the Aug 24, 1940, Japanese bombing of Chongqing.
But the new documentary is really about the “unsung hero” behind the old film, Hawaiian-born Li Ling-Ai, who is named as a technical adviser in the credits, but was really a producer, financer and inspiration for filmmaker Rey Scott.
Scott, a St Louis-born freelance photojournalist, met Li Ling-Ai in Hawaii in 1937 and she convinced him to go to China and get the real story behind the Japanese occupation to make the world understand what was really happening there.
Scott made four trips to mainland, and Dec 25 is not a public holiday. However, Christmas appears to be gaining ground as a season for shopping and celebration in China.
And to the younger generation, it has also become a special day to express good wishes and exchange gifts with someone they love, boosting the “holiday economy”.
As a season for shopping, Christmas is gaining traction in major cities, with many retailers offering discounts.
Christmas-related sales China over the next four years, with Li Ling-Ai hocking her jewelry to buy him film and boat tickets and set up contacts.
She told Scott she was sick of movies showing China as nothing but smoky song clubs. “Take pictures of the real people fighting for China’s freedom,” she told Scott. “That’s the story of China I want. Life goes on, regardless.”
Scott and Li Ling-Ai began to screen footage around the United States to raise awareness — and money — for United China Relief.
“The idea of peace is the secret behind China,” she told a reporter in Boston. “Through countless centuries the Chinese have been trained in the ways of peace. And they are fighting today to maintain that ideal.”
The footage culminated in the documentary, which premiered in New York City on June 24, 1941. It was the first ever full-color movie about China and a hit in theaters.
After Pearl Harbor, Scott booms have been recorded in the past decade in metropolises such as Beijing and Shanghai, according to a survey conducted by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The trend is now spreading to smaller cities, the academy said.
The survey also found that the popularity of Christ- joined the Army, signing away the rights to Kukan for three years. By the time he returned from the war, the company had gone under and all copies of Kukan were lost or destroyed.
But one print passed unnoticed and poorly stored to one of Scott’s four sons. Restoration efforts came up short, unfortunately.
But some stunning footage of the bombing of Chongqing did survive, and the story comes full circle as Lung takes the VCR to Chongqing and screens it for the first time there.
As one city official said after viewing it, “China is still missing a lot of knowledge about this part of its history. This film is precious.”
He thanked Li Ling-Ai, who died in New York in 2003 at the age of 95.
“Heroes come in different sizes,” he said. “A little woman can be a big hero.”
time to do what interests them at their own pace. The most popular semi-guided tour destinations for this New Year’s Day holiday are Xiamen in Fujian province, Sanya in Hainan province, Singapore and Thailand. The popular packages are for four to six days, as many people prefer to take a couple of days off to extend the holiday.
Contact the writer at chrisdavis @chinadailyusa.com mas with the younger generation has nothing to do with Christianity. Instead, it gives them one more excuse to hang out with loved ones and to entertain and reward themselves.