Re: passion of the mao

From "Daniel F. Vukovich" <>
Date Sat, 10 Dec 2005 13:12:05 -0800
In-reply-to <>
References <BAY109-F57777235941ED7C11438EA9440@phx.gbl><>


Thanks for the info-- and for making the film. It sounds great.  Do 
keep us updated, and let us know when/how we can get our school's 
libraries to order copies.



At 08:23 AM 12/10/2005, you wrote:

>     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.
>     Cheers,
>     Lee
>On 12/10/05 9:31 AM, "Matt Hale" <> wrote:
> >
> >
> > Anyone know anything about this? Forthcoming documentary by Lee Feigon et
> > al.
> >
> >

Daniel Vukovich
Visiting Humanities Scholar
Kresge College
University of California -- Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, CA 95064