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Shooting from a new perspective

By Sun Li (China Daily)

16:53, August 01, 2012

A departure from classic war films, Taihang Mountain centers on army leader Zhu De, instead of the common protagonist, former chairman Mao Zedong.

While battle movies are not as popular as they once were in China, August First

Film Studio is keeping the red flag flying and updating the genre. Sun Li reports.

War movies are no longer a popular category for jaded audiences, but August First Film Studio, a unit of the Chinese military, has been enhancing the charisma of the genre.

Founded on Aug 1, 1952, to coincide with the anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in 1927, the studio has produced more than 2,200 films that range from features to documentaries. Many of them are considered to be timeless masterpieces and have won prestigious awards.

As the studio is about to celebrate its 60th anniversary, a retrospective is underway on CCTV-6, showcasing a series of classic revolutionary films, which mostly premiered in the 1950s and 1960s.

Feng Enhe, a veteran actor with the studio, says when August First is mentioned most people automatically think of the studio's black-and-white movies.

"In the past, people didn't have as much entertainment as today's folk do," the 62-year-old says, adding that watching films was a major pastime and patriotic revolution-themed films were then in vogue.

"Blending intriguing plotline, intensive battle scenes and vivid portraits of characters played by marquee idols of that time, many old war films of the studio have been seared into the collective consciousness," Feng says.

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