China calls for 'patriotic' filmmaking


HONG KONG -- The chairman of the state-run China Film Group has called on local filmmakers to make more patriotic movies, arguing that nationalism is also common in Hollywood productions, a news report said Monday.

Han Sanping also said the influential production company wants to make more "ethically inspiring" movies, a theme that includes patriotism, and pointed to Will Smith's "The Pursuit of Happyness" as an example.

Han made his remarks in an interview with the Chinese news Web site The transcript of the interview was posted on on Monday.

"The reality of this country's economic reforms is that the country, the race, is prospering. This must be extolled. It can only be extolled. There can't be anyone who makes fun of it. People who do either have ulterior motives or they're mentally challenged," the executive was quoted as saying. "As a Chinese director ... as a Chinese actor, this point of view must be firmly entrenched."

Han added that nationalism also was common in U.S. movies, saying they often cast Americans as saviors.

"(In Hollywood movies) every time mankind faces disaster, Americans rescue mankind ... When an evil monster that wants to destroy the world appears, who saves mankind? Americans. This is patriotism too. You can't deny it," Han said.

The movie executive cited Will Smith's "The Pursuit of Happyness" about a struggling salesman and single father's rise to become a successful stockbroker as an example of an "ethically inspiring" movie.

Smith's character "overcame all difficulties and disturbances to pursue something and he succeeded," Han said, adding, "That's the kind of values we want to promote."

Despite economic reforms, China still scrutinizes media content carefully, only allowing about 20 foreign movie imports every year. Chinese censors are also wary of sex, violence, superstition and scenes viewed as demeaning to Chinese people.

Some Chinese filmmakers say Beijing still views movies as a propaganda tool not an entertainment product.

Han said China won't resist working with foreign filmmakers he noted the recently released animation "The Magic Gourd" was co-produced by Disney and China Film Group but that the ultimate goal of co-operation was to improve the quality of Chinese movies.

"We can't let China Film Group become a trading company, distributing and buying foreign movies ... To take a more serious tone, if things come to that it's the tragedy of the whole race," he said.