ABSTRACT

The final chapter discusses the film The Little 8th Route Army (1973) created by You Lei in the midst of the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976). This long-lasting and fanatically ideological campaign thoroughly changed Chinese society and, among other entities, strongly impacted the functioning of the animation studio in Shanghai. A twofold narrative construction enables viewing the film as a disturbing example of a coming-of-age war movie genre and a ‘playbook’ of the most radical Maoist ideas targeted at the young audience. The concept of model art, advocated by Jiang Qing in regard to performative arts (yangbanxi), was transposed to animation by You Lei. Applied cinematic and puppet animation means of expression facilitated appearance of the significant model conventions such as merging revolutionary realism and revolutionary romanticism, suppositionality effect, liangxiang gaze, three prominences principle. An observable formalist drift curbs emotional emphasis and, in consequence, turns propagandistic culture texts into ritualized form of communication. You Lei continued to equate historical reality of the pre-1949 struggle for Liberation with the contemporary reality. Attempts in idealizing horrifying and brutal acts conducted by the young protagonists of the film serve to justify and commemorate the infamous Red Guards in the pantheon of Maoist collective imagination.