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date: 05 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter studies a Sino-Soviet coproduced color documentary film entitled Victory of the Chinese People, directed by the Soviet war filmmaker Leonid Varlamov and completed in 1950. The film mobilized tens of thousands of soldiers and spent a large amount of ammunition to reenact four “great battles” in the Chinese civil war, despite the fact that all these battles had been recorded in real time by Chinese filmmakers just months before. By comparing this film’s reenactment of the battles with Chinese filmmakers’ actuality footage, and by examining the translation of Soviet discourses on documentary cinema at the time, this chapter argues that the making of this film and the adoption of Soviet theories and practices of documentary dramaturgy in the early 1950s constituted a critical learning moment for Chinese filmmakers and helped lay the foundation for a PRC documentary cinema.

Keywords: documentary, actuality, reenactment, war, Soviet influence

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