M'sians online question govt for allowing Chinese nationalistic war film to show in cinemas

After Malaysian cinema chain GSC announced the upcoming release of "The Battle at Lake Changjin".

Jean Chien Tay | November 03, 2021, 05:32 PM

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After the popular Malaysian cinema chain Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) took to Facebook to announce the upcoming release of the Chinese nationalistic movie "The Battle at Lake Changjin", netizens expressed their dissatisfaction that the propaganda-esque movie was allowed to screen in the country.

Numerous commenters came to question the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS) -- the government agency responsible for the film industry -- on how the Chinese government-funded movie was approved for screening in the first place.

Social media users also pointed out that the film was a "propaganda movie" made by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), while another netizen opined that the movie's plot was "twisted history".

The film portraying the victory of Chinese troops over the U.S. Army has topped the box office in China.

Netizens bash the decision to allow screening

Facebook users have since flooded GSC's Facebook post with comments that expressed their displeasure.

A tweet that called out the upcoming release of the "communist content" went viral as well, with 1,156 "retweets" and 1,471 "likes" at the time of writing.

"We were careless, guys. CCP (Chinese Communist Party) communist content is allowed into Malaysia. We were careless."

Redditors on the subreddit r/Malaysia also weighed in, airing their confusion as to why the movie was not banned in Malaysia.

Support from a few

On the opposite side of the fence, some netizens also showed support for the movie in the comments section.

GSC has yet to respond to the overwhelming criticisms.

The exact release date of the movie is also yet to be announced by the cinema.

Commissioned by the Chinese government

"The Battle at Lake Changjin" is a patriotic war film commissioned by the Chinese government, and was released on China's national day (Oct. 1), according to the BBC.

The CCP recently celebrated its 100th anniversary on July 1 to much fanfare.

Based on the historical "Battle of the Chosin Reservoir", the film depicts a brutal 17-day battle fought during the Korean War, which saw 120,000 Chinese troops encircling and attacking the U.S. military, eventually forcing the U.S. to evacuate from the area, the New York Post reported.

With a budget of just US$200 million (S$268.8 million), the movie was directed by three celebrated film-makers -- Chen Kaige, Tsui Hark, and Dante Lam, and featured nationalist film regular Wu Jing as one of the lead actors.

Chinese audiences "deeply moved"

According to Chinese state-controlled media Global Times (GT), audiences were "deeply moved" by the movie and paid tribute to Chinese soldiers who made sacrifices during the Korean War.

However, a former Chinese journalist, Luo Changping, was detained by the authorities and accused of "humiliating army veterans" after writing a critical review of the nationalistic film, DW News reported.

GT: "Movie tops global box office in 2021"

Meanwhile, GT reported that "The Battle at Lake Changjin" topped global box office in 2021, citing data from Chinese ticketing platform Maoyan.

The three-hour-long war film reportedly surpassed "Hi, Mom", which grossed RMB5.41 billion (S$1.14 billion), making it the second highest-grossing film of all time in China.

According to data from Maoyan, the movie has recorded RMB5.52 billion (S$1.16 billion) in box office as of Nov. 3, trailing another nationalistic war film -- "Wolf Warrior" -- which reported a box office of RMB5.69 billion (S$1.19 billion).

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Top image via GSC/Facebook & @MHaffizJ/Twitter