ABSTRACT

The chapter contextualizes the production conditions and ideological contents of The Emperor’s Dream (1947), the first animated film made at the Northeast Film Studio in Changchun that was led by the Communist Party of China (CPC) affiliated cadres. Acknowledging Mochinaga Tadahito’s involvement as a lead animator, the presented discussion focuses on the film’s director, Chen Bo’er, pioneering feminist film theorist and one of the future leaders of the New China’s cinema system. Analysis of the film outlines the means of expression specific for the puppet film that conveyed propagandistic, anti-Kuomintang formulations which resonated with the audience during the Civil War period. The significant aesthetical discrepancies present in the film are pointed out. It is argued that the observable fusion of direct ideological agitation and modernist expressiveness (specifically surrealism) coincides with the principles of the ‘New Democracy’ policies. This concept was formulated by Mao Zedong in 1940 and it referred to the political heritage of Sun Yat-sen. Its function was to validate a tactical alliance of the Maoist revolutionaries and the Chinese bourgeoisie, enabling intellectual and artistic flows between the antagonistic classes. Its functionality evanesced after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949.