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Commemorating the Centennial of the 1911 Chinese Revolution
Considering this is only a little more than an hour and a half in length, "1911" does a pretty decent job of offering the viewer a look at the 1911 revolution in China that toppled the Qing dynasty and inaugurated the Chinese Republic. The movie is heavy on battle scenes as the republicans and monarchists battle - and some of them are pretty graphic. The movie also gives a substantial look at some of the internal politics of the republican movement, which was not exactly a unified movement, except in its overall goal of toppling the monarchy. There's a few reflections on the place of foreigners and on repeated foreign interference in Chinese affairs. Basically this is pretty well acted by everyone involved, and it plays it pretty straight, with only one scene that I can recall that descends into Chinese martial arts. The fact that it is so short means that while it offers the viewer a good taste of the revolution, it lacks any real depth. Obviously, the era was far more complicated than is portrayed here.
One thing that detracted from my enjoyment of the movies was the subtitles. I understand the need for them, of course, but there were two problems with them - first, they sometimes flashed by so fast that it was difficult to read them, and, second, there were many times when there were two different sets of subtitles on the screen - one translating dialogue, and one translating historical information that was being offered on screen. It was difficult to follow both, and the latter especially were written in a very small font.
The movie was produced in mainland China to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1911 revolution. Unsurprisingly, then, the movie pays homage in its closing captions to the Chinese Communist Party as the inheritors of the revolutionary tradition. Aside from that, though, this didn't come across to me as a particularly heavy propaganda piece, which I appreciated. (6/10)
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