Re: passion of the mao

From Lee Feigon <>
Date Sat, 10 Dec 2005 10:23:55 -0600
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    I obviously know quite a bit about the film, since I've been working on
nothing else for well over a year now.  The film features interviews with
several people well-known to members of this group--Han Dongping, Wang
Zheng, Bai Di, and others--and some rare documentary footage I got from both
Russian and Chinese archives.  It's certainly on the opposite side of the
political and entertainment spectrum from the Chang/Halliday book.
    I try to approach my subject with humor, showing Mao's personal failings
as well as his achievements.  In order to do this, I have developed what a
number of film professionals have now told me is a completely original
documentary style.  Just like Mao and Jiang Qing in the Cultural Revolution
tried to combine the old with the new turning the familiar genre of Peking
Opera into a new revolutionary form, so I try to blend old documentaries
into my new documentary to create an original form that conveys both in
style and in content Maoist idea.
    At the same time as I praise Mao's achievements, I also attack the
deification Mao received.  Mao was after all only human, and he was the
writer of "On Contradictions." So it is only natural that Mao too had
contradictions in his own life.  At times the real Mao is difficult to
distinguish from the fictional Mao.  Rather than turn to outright lies
disguised as fact as in the Chang/Holliday book, I use animation and humor
to show some of the wilder, more ambiguous aspects of Mao's life.
    Alas, the movie did not get into Sundance, but it is getting taken
seriously by a number of movie professionals.  One obstacle has in fact been
the Chang/Holiday book which worried people that Mao was a monster and
turned them off my film.
    One of the reasons I have been rather low-key about the film is that as
soon as the website for the movie went up, it was immediately discovered by
some extreme right-wing evangelical Christian and White Supremacist groups.
One such organization, a disgusting White Supremacist group called "National
Vantage" mounted a vicious White Supremacist anti-Semitic attack on me
personally and on the film in general, although they knew nothing abut about
me or what was in the movie.  I found their charges amusing, but several of
the people working with me on the film (and unlike they weren't mentioned by
name) were frightened by these attacks.  For the sake of those working with
me and to avoid baiting and giving further publicity to a bunch of lunatics
before the distribution for the film is in place, I decided to keep an even
lower profile than before until everything was complete.  Now of course the
white supremacist crowd is going to be joined by Chang/Holliday supporters.
    The film is just about complete.  Hopefully it will begin to get shown
in a few months. I hope the movie will change the terms of the debate on Mao
rather radically and to the positive, though unquestionably not everyone
will like it.  I promise to let everyone know when  I get some concrete
information about distribution. Meanwhile, you can check out the website
Matt mentioned.  We are in the process of putting up a racy, not really very
representative movie trailer.

On 12/10/05 9:31 AM, "Matt Hale" <> wrote:

> Anyone know anything about this? Forthcoming documentary by Lee Feigon et
> al.