Xi Jinping's foreign policy hinges on realizing "the China dream." But, beyond a nationalistic desire to "stand tall" on the global stage, few Westerners can articulate the underlying dynamics and motivations of Beijing's increasingly assertive behavior.
Made outside of China's censorship system, these films were lauded as dreamy and raw; his vision focused, almost unwittingly, on the country's tumultuous past and the plight of individual folk, often seen through the eyes of a strong female lead.
Reading subtitles is a lot like riding a bicycle. Practice not only makes perfect, soon enough it's second nature so you don't even notice you're doing it. This particularly holds true when you're watching something great.
It seems like a weirdly cross-cultural idea: Chinese master Zhang Yimou does a remake of the Coen brothers' debut film, Blood Simple. If the film lacks the dryly mordant Coen wit, it offers other pleasures -- but also some problems.
We are left with a picture of a China that is full of contradictions and conflicting trends, of liberalizing desire to become an open society mixed with a strong strain of conservative attachment, of kitsch and real splendor existing side-by-side.
Embellishing the face of China, and thereby enhancing the prestige of its rulers, required something better than reality, a painstakingly idealized hyper-real, and if that required trickery or deception, so be it.
The conscious decision to create a narrative that rewrites both Chinese history and reality is alarming -- but the fact that the NBC commentators unquestioningly went along with it is downright appalling.