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date: 06 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Focusing on two Korean War films, this chapter traces the development of aesthetic forms in relation to geopolitics and revolutionary ideology from the 1950s through the eve of the Cultural Revolution. Although Chinese films of the Korean War depict dramatic scenes of battlefields and intriguing strategies, they seek to offer an ideological exemplar rather than exciting stories. The war film articulates a politics of spirit and expresses Mao’s military romanticism. Against the Cold War geopolitics and the fetishism of weapons and through aesthetic, operatic elaboration, the war film holds up heroic, self-sacrificing figures of idealism for the whole society to emulate so as to empower the population. The politics of spirit also projects a cultural internationalism that aligns with third-world nations in the common struggle against imperialism.

Keywords: politics of spirit, internationalism, military romanticism, imperialism

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