This documentary is both about history and a part of history itself. Filmmaker Peter Du Cane documents the first Chinese National Day, in which Mao Zedong spoke to a united people about their new republic. In addition, the producers recreate parts of Mao’s speech that even few Chinese people have ever heard. This innovative film is revolutionary, perhaps befitting, given its subject matter, Mao.
One part of this film is the history of Mao Zedong’s establishment of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949. The goal was to project the power of the new nation to itself and before the world. As we learn here, Mao wanted to hold the parade in Tiananmen Square, site of the old imperial Forbidden City, to emphasize the creation of a new China out of the old one.
This parade had to be a success, realized Mao. China remained at the time an impoverished land. Intricate planning went into the ceremony. The film explores the intense training military regiments underwent. Uniforms had to be standardized. Everything had to run with precision because the event was to be a reflection of what the future would hold.
Director Peter Du Cane goes further than just narrate the important history of this event. He reconstructs the speech Mao gave before the world. Never before seen footage has Mao using a dialect that the majority of the nation could not have understood. This finding proves shocking because the people in the audience react positively to the speech. Historians have never expected that Mao spoke a largely unintelligible dialect.
What this documentary proves is that the first National Day Parade was an unqualified success in uniting the country. Things ran so smoothly that the leader, Mao, could use a language unknown to the audience and still receive ovations.
Viewers learn from this film one of the reasons why China has become such a world power. Its people have a unity and pride in nation that may not be readily apparent to the unknowing. The documentary demonstrates just how hopeful the Chinese are in progress.
October 1949: Parade of the Waking Giant
- Enhanced DVD
- ISBN: 978-0-81608-728-0
- Run Time: 52 Minutes
- Copyright Date: 2009