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Film Review: The Party Is Not Done Talking—The CCP’s Persecuting Human Rights of Christians
By Ruochen, Japan
The Chinese New Year is coming. A special movie named The Party Is Not Done Talking! is released on the internet. This is not a New Year’s comedy movie but a family tragedy movie that makes us shed bitter tears. Coincidentally, in the opening scene, Li Ming’ai has a family reunion, making dumplings for the Spring Festival. However, Chief Wang’s abrupt arrival brings the warmth of this family to an end.
This is an appealing movie. Because Li Ming’ai believes in God, the local policemen and village committee come to her house heaps of times. They harass and intimidate her and put pressure to her family. Thus, her husband loses his work, and their fish pond is confiscated. They have no way out in life. Later, Li Ming’ai is reported by a villager due to her gathering a meeting. Because her home is ransacked by the policemen, she is forced to leave her home and be on the run. Three years later, she is shadowed and arrested by the policemen in the neighboring county. The policemen, in order to force Li Ming’ai to give up her belief, bring her to her hometown and make her parade through the crowded streets. They attempt to humiliate her so as to make her sell out brothers and sisters and the church. Due to her longing for her family and the indignation over the many years of persecution of belief in God, Li Ming’ai refutes the CCP’s rumors bravely, and exposes its evil deeds of persecuting the families of the believers in God. A series of good plots are interlocked and deeply rooted in people’s minds.
The plot focuses on the affection between Li Ming’ai and her child, and is mixed with the scenes where Li Ming’ai is tortured. This movie, without too many lines and explanations but based on Li Ming’ai’s personal experience, shows a true story of how the CCP persecutes her and her family, and how a harmonious Christian’s family is forced to be separated. Moreover, it forcefully counterattacks the CCP’s rumor “Believers in God don’t want family.”
The reason why it is called “The Party Is Not Done Talking” is that it comes from the CCP’s high-sounding words “The Party’s words have not finished.” It means that Chinese should listen to the Party’s words and follow it, and that only the Party has the right to speak and no matter who has something to say, he must step aside. The Chinese name of the film is “Dang De Hua Hai Mei Shuo Wan Ne,” and the English name is “The Party Is Not Done Talking!” The word “dang” of the film’s Chinese title, which means “the party,” sounds like the Chinese word for “crotch,” an online slang. This is a great irony. It implies that the CCP’s words are nonsense, and none of them is convinced. In spite of that, the common people have to listen. This also suggests that people under the CCP’s dictatorial rule have no real freedom of belief and speech, and they cannot think independently or express their ideas and views freely. We can see some details in the movie, such as every time Li Ming’ai wants to refute: “I cannot return my home, not because I believe in God, but because the CCP persecutes me,” but she is interrupted forcibly before she can finish her words. It seems that she is choked, which makes us feel how intense her ideological struggle is. Her indignation lasts until the last scene of the movie. When Li Ming’ai faces with the villagers who are ignorant of the facts and the policemen who harbor evil intentions, the long-standing depression in her heart bursts forth. She tearfully accuses the CCP of persecuting human rights of her and her family. I cannot help thinking of the wonderful soliloquy of Tan Xiumin facing with the teacher of brainwashing class in the movie The Lies of Communism. We can see the true emotional world of the Christian. Meanwhile, it forcefully reveals the hard life of Christians ruled by the CCP and the CCP’s long-time persecution of human rights of Christians and their families. This provokes us into thinking: Do Christians forsake their family or does the CCP persecute believers in God and break their families apart?
The scene where the policemen take Li Ming’ai to her home is the climax of the movie. All the plots and passions in the first part of the film serve and set a course for the eruption of feelings pent up inside the characters late in the movie. When they enter the village, the camera first gives a close-up of Li Ming’ai, then the camera cuts to her family, who are making dumplings and waiting for her. This special effect of cross-cutting shows the contradictory battle and the pressure inside her: On the one hand, Li Ming’ai is eager to meet her family and her family are with full expectation; on the other hand, Li Ming’ai knows clearly that the CCP uses her family to put pressure on her in order that she can sell out brothers and sisters. This makes the audience expect the following plots and allows them to be in sweat for Li Ming’ai.
When Li Ming’ai sees her family, she doesn’t know where to begin even though she has many words to say. A long-separated hug with her son and several common greetings naturally reveal her great rapport with her son, the filial respect for her parents-in-law, and the care for her husband, all this makes the audience see a Christian who is of flesh and blood. Several slow-motion cameras play up the contradictory feeling of the character. Just as the soliloquy of Li Ming’ai when she gets out of the car: “I have been dreaming of seeing my family, but I never expected I see them this way….” It expresses her endless heartbreak and helplessness. When the policemen take away Li Ming’ai again, the scene in which she and her son are separated unfolds once again. And all the people’s emotion is aroused. Li Ming’ai calls out her son’s name, trying to pull herself free; her son cries out her mother, unwilling to let her go. The policemen ruthlessly force them to separate, leaving the son and the old people in tears. The dumplings prepared for Li Ming’ai scatter all over the ground. The similar scene have also appeared in the movie “Coming Home” directed by Zhang Yimou. The main characters are stopped by people of the reforming farm on the overpass, and they cannot hug each other though they see each other. They are forced to part. During the course, the steamed bun prepared by the heroine for the hero scattered all over the overpass. Such scenes of departure which cater to the audience’s emotional needs, plus the background music, usually make us drop tears immediately. But the one small flaw is that the director cuts these scenes a little quickly. Just when the audience are touched by the misery of Li Ming’ai and her son’s departure, the scene is cut to the next, so it doesn’t give the audience much food for thought.
Additionally, in terms of the mise-en-scene, certain props, set pieces and outdoor locations are used in this movie to build atmosphere, this is a common method adopted by the directors. The recurring scene gives the audience a different feeling, and evokes memories of the previous plots, so that we can resonate to the leading character’s emotion and become caught up in the same emotion. For example, the material of country roads in the movie “The Road Home” directed by Zhang Yimou are used many times, it testifies parents’ meeting, falling in love and breaking up. Here is another example, the movie named Chronicles of Religious Persecution in China—Who is the Culprit? was very popular on the internet last year. In the movie, the prop of the wood carving sheep keeps showing up. It reflects the honest and gentle disposition of Christian Zhou Haijiang. Meanwhile, it is also an object which his wife and children place their longing on. Similarly, the material of the country road appears many times in this movie, and it makes the movie more popular. The empty shot of the country road appears at the beginning of the movie. Later, when Li Ming’ai goes home after attending a meeting, she passes this country road. When the policemen search her home and Li Ming’ai is forced to leave home, she passes this road. When the policemen take her to her village, they pass this country road. In the end, when she is taken away, they also pass this road. This road becomes the emotional connection of Li Ming’ai and her family. It is a road where she goes home, and is a road where she leaves home, and is a road where she places her longing for her family and son.
The end of the movie is the continuation of the story. We see that after Li Ming’ai experiences the CCP’s persecution time after time, she has growth in her life and has a firmer faith to follow God. A faithful Christian who is flesh-and-blood and has affection and faith appears before the audience.
If you have other understanding or new light about this film review, you’re welcome to have a chat with us via the online chat window at the bottom of the website or send an email to [email protected]. We Look forward to sharing with more brothers and sisters about your enlightenment from God and growing together in Christ.
You may be interested in this article: Persecuted Christian’s Memory: 5 Years Away From Home