2009 marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC), and a host of films were specially made to commemorate the occasion. Among those films, The Founding of a Republic
is the undisputed centerpiece of the lot, due mainly to its epic scope and the magnitude of talents involved in the production. Produced under the banner of the state-run China Film Group and its director Han Sanping, the ambitious project is helmed by Fifth-Generation director Huang Jianxin (Gimme Kudos
) from a script by Wang Xingdong (The One Man Olympics
). The historical epic chronicles the Chinese civil war from 1945 to 1949, during which the Chinese Communist Party overthrew the rule of Kuomintang and eventually established the PRC. The film opened in Mainland two weeks before the October 1st National Day, and the strong buzz has powered the film to stunning grosses at the box office. By its fifth weekend, this unstoppable juggernaut has raked in over RMB400 million to become the highest-grossing Chinese film of all time.
Perhaps what makes The Founding of a Republic such an attention grabber and commercial triumph is the huge ensemble cast that has come together under the great patriotic cause this movie represents. Over a hundred big-name Chinese showbiz personalities get starring roles in the event film, including many international superstars that reportedly make cameo appearances for free. Occupying the main roles are Tang Guoqiang (playing Mao Zedong), Zhang Guoli (Chiang Kai Shek), Xu Qing (Soong Ching Ling), Vivian Wu (Soong Mei Ling), Aloys Chen (Chiang Ching Kuo), Liu Jin (Zhou Enlai), Wang Wufu (Zhu De), and Wang Xueqi (Li Tsung Jen). In supporting parts there are Jet Li, Zhang Ziyi, Vicki Zhao, Huang Xiaoming, Liu Ye, Guo Xiaodong, Tong Dawei, Ge You, Hu Jun, Zhang Hanyu, Chen Hao, Ning Jing, Eva Huang, Chen Daoming, and Jiang Wen. Add to the mix popular Hong Kong movie stars like Jackie Chan, Andy Lau, Leon Lai, Donnie Yen, Tony Leung Ka Fai, and the stargazing still doesn't end there - even A-list directors Chen Kaige and Feng Xiaogang are onboard taking rare turns in front of the camera!