China releases a movie drama featuring its belt-and-road project

“Please don’t take it as a propaganda movie,” urges an employee from the Chinese entertainment company behind “Common Destiny”, the world’s first film featuring China’s Belt and Road Initiative (bri), a global infrastructure-building scheme. That is a tall order. State media openly admit that the film, which had a nationwide première on August 30th amid much hype, received “major backing” from the government. It bears only a superficial resemblance to a drama pic.

The Chinese term for bri is rarely mentioned in the film. But it is all about the goodwill that China supposedly manifests through the project. The plot revolves around half a dozen unrelated people from all corners of the world, each benefiting in some way from the scheme. A schoolgirl in Kenya rides a new railway built by China (a guard is pictured at its terminus in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi). An unemployed woman in Jordan is hired by a Chinese internet firm—involved in the bri’s “digital Silk Road”—after local companies turn her down. The only aspect of the film that is overtly political is its title, which is shorthand for the much ballyhooed goal of President Xi Jinping’s foreign policy: “A community of common destiny for mankind”. At the film’s opening Martin Campbell, a New Zealander best known for directing the James Bond movies “GoldenEye” and “Casino Royale”, said “Common Destiny” would “deeply touch” audiences.

Source: The Economist

Date: 6/9/2019

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