Long Live Revolution! As seen in Let the Bullets Fly
For the past century, the spectre of revolution has insistently haunted China and its people. From the Xinhai Revolution in 1911, the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949, the horrors of the Cultural Revolution, the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 to Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement in 2014, China has certainly had its share of mass movements and revolutionary change.
With the country’s current leaders apparently living in constant fear of the next major protest and increasing censorship of free speech on the web and in classrooms, we take the chance to reflect on Jiang Wen’s Let the Bullets Fly, a 2010 Chinese blockbuster that was perceived by some as a veiled criticism of the Communist Party under a layer of populist entertainment.
This talk will revisit Let the Bullets Fly, focusing on its similarities to the American Western as well as the meaning of the historical references peppered throughout the film. Join us for a discussion on the relevance of “revolution” in China today, seen through the eyes of one of the country’s most important living directors.
This talk will be delivered in English.
Kristof van den Troost completed an MA in Sinology at the Catholic University of Leuven, and a PhD in Chinese Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), where he is now a Lecturer and MA Deputy Programme Director for the Centre for China Studies. His main research interests are Chinese film history, genre studies, and the representation of crime in Hong Kong cinema. He was recently published in Always in the Dark: A Study of Hong Kong Gangster Films, a collection of essays assembled by the Hong Kong Film Archive.