Special Focus

The True Colors of a Great Hero大英雄的本色

- By Mo Yan

Iwas having a meeting at the Bayi Film Studio around 30 years ago, where we were talking about how to write scripts on revolution­ary history and military topics.

We have all read RedStar OverChina by Edgar Parks Snow, in which a large paragraph was dedicated to describing his interview with Chairman Mao Zedong in the cave dwelling in Yan’an.

According to the book, Chairman Mao talked with him for three whole days. During their conversati­on they spent stretches, Mao stood on his feet or lay down, in this case in a heatable brick bed common in Northern China. He smoked cigarettes and even searched over his body for ticks, which he threw into the fire or squeezed to death when caught.

These details have revealed to me greatness, sacredness, genius, and romance.

It was such big and broad topics the man was talking about, from the magnificen­t revolution­ary history to his own thrilling and legendary experience­s. From the situation in the border regions to the realities of China. From European and Pacific battlefiel­ds of World War II to the great vision of a new China about to be founded.

Yet what was he doing while talking about these complex and topics? Rolling up his pants to look for parasites.

Wouldn’t it be great to show a character and plot play out like this on the screen? A movie showing such a Mao Zedong in such vulnerable and intimate moments would just serve to humanize him, making his greatness all the real and striking.

(FromOn PovertyWea­lthiness , andDesire , Zhejiang Literature and Art Publishing House. Translatio­n: Lu Qiongyao)

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